Charles Wright Begins Poet Laureate Term, Lena Dunham Kicks Off Book Tour, 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:

This morning, the book-review magazine and website Kirkus Reviews announced the finalists for its first annual Kirkus Prize, a new writing award that will be given for works of fiction, nonfiction, and young people’s literature. One winner in each category will receive $50,000. (NPR)

Meanwhile, PEN American Center has named Shawn Vestal the winner of the 2014 PEN/Bingham Prize for debut fiction. The author of the short story collection Godforsaken Idaho (Little A/New Harvest), Vestal received the $25,000 prize last night at an awards ceremony in New York City.

In more awards news, the National Book Foundation has announced its 2014 5 Under 35. The annual awards honor books published in the previous year by authors under the age of thirty-five.

Poet Charles Wright delivered his inaugural reading at the Library of Congress late last week, marking the official start of his yearlong term as the United States’ twentieth poet laureate. Wright talks with USA Today about how he came to poetry, his writing process, and his plans for the position.

Best-selling author Lee Child reveals why he joined the group Authors United, and why he cares about the Amazon-Hachette dispute. For Child, who is not a Hachette author, the problem isn’t e-book prices: “I don’t want Amazon to be the only publisher,” he writes. “[T]he big deal is—Amazon is a publisher too. Not a very good one yet…but Bezos never gives up, and he wants Amazon to be the only publisher, and he’ll do what it takes to make it so.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Atlantic considers the fate of Librairie Delamain, the oldest bookstore in Paris, which opened in 1906 and now—due to both online competition and soaring rents in the city—faces the threat of closure.  

Simon & Schuster has teamed up with Scandinavian e-book subscription service Mofibo, a partnership that will bring more than twenty thousand of the publisher's titles to readers in Denmark and Sweden. (GalleyCat)

Actress and writer Lena Dunham, whose book Not That Kind of Girl is released today by Random House, is setting off on a nationwide book tour that will also be something of an arts extravaganza. The Girls creator and star will be joined on the road by seven artists—culled from an open call that garnered more than six hundred applicants—who will perform alongside Dunham across the country. Prominent comedians and writers, such as Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein, novelist Zadie Smith, and poet and memoirist Mary Karr, will also join Dunham on the tour, which kicks off tonight in New York City. (New York Times)