Captive Writer Released From Syria, the Poet's Journey, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

Peter Theo Curtis, an American author and journalist who was kidnapped by terrorist group Al Qaeda and held captive in Syria for nearly two years, has been released. The author, who disappeared in October 2012, returned to his home in Boston yesterday after the government of Qatar mediated his release. (Boston Globe)

“To become a poet means persisting in the face of your fear.” In the latest installment of his ongoing “Poetry Wire” column, David Biespiel considers the poet’s journey. (The Rumpus)

Canadian e-reader manufacturer Kobo has launched the world’s first waterproof e-reader. (Yahoo! News)

California has passed a new law under which it will be recommended that history books cover “the significance of President Barack Obama’s election.” The law, signed by Governor Jerry Brown, will require California's Instructional Quality Commission “to consider including, and recommending for adoption by the state board, instruction on the election of President Barack Obama and the significance of the United States electing its first African American President.” (NPR)

“Places do things to you.” In this week’s installment of the New York Times Bookends series, authors Mohsin Hamid and Thomas Mallon discuss how where they’ve lived has affected their work.

New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff has signed a deal with Henry Holt and Company to write a biography of the late Robin Williams. A press release from the publisher reports, “The book will provide the definitive, comprehensive account of Williams’s life and will recount his journey from lonesome youth to indefatigable comedian.” (GalleyCat)

At the National Book Festival this weekend in Washington, D.C., E. L. Doctorow will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. Doctorow, 83, is the author of a dozen novels and a number of short story and essay collections, and has received the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, and the National Book Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The festival, which will be held on Saturday, is free and open to the public. (Washington Post)

An original illustration from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, featured in the frontpiece of the 1831 edition of the book, will be on display this fall at the British Library as part of a collection called “Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination.” (i09)