Chia-Chia Lin on Allowing Delight, Ghostwriter Calls Trump’s Memoir Fiction, 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.

At the Rumpus, Chia-Chia Lin discusses her debut novel, The Unpassing, and the importance of being interested in delight when writing about grief. “The point is not to balance out the darker circumstances, at least not for me, or to insert happiness, but to allow space for other kinds of observations. Even the appearance of a well-shaped mushroom in the woods can be delightful.”

For independent booksellers affected by the closure of Baker & Taylor’s retail wholesale business, Penguin Random House has launched an “Indies Express Program” to help booksellers purchase titles directly from the publishing house. (Publishers Weekly)

The ghostwriter of Donald Trump’s 1987 memoir, The Art of the Deal, has called for the book to be categorized as fiction. Tony Schwartz, who since 2016 has donated his earnings from the memoir to various charities, tweeted yesterday, “I’d be fine if Random House simply took the book out of print.” (Washington Post)

“In both Kurdistan and the Islamic world, poetry has served as a crucial vehicle for political and religious expression—especially as a vehicle for recruitment.” Mohammed Fatih Mohammed on the cult Kurdish jihadi poet Khider Kosari. (Los Angeles Review of Books)

BuzzFeed offers a testament to the importance of independent presses with a list of indie books that went big (or are on the rise), from Brittany Ackerman’s memoir-in-essays, The Perpetual Motion Machine (Red Hen Press), to Katia D. Ulysse’s novel Mouths Don’t Speak (Akashic Books).

Lambda Literary has named poet Hannah Ensor and journalist Robert Fieseler winners of the 2019 Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers. Ensor and Fieseler will each receive $1,000 and be honored at the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony in New York City on June 3.

“Someone even said to me once, ‘A woman writer sharpens her pencil with malice in her heart.’ (!) My response was, ‘I have no malice, and I write on a computer.’” At Literary Hub, novelist Kanako Nishi considers gender stereotypes and the curved lines of fiction. Nishi will appear in today’s Translation Slam at the PEN America World Voices Festival in New York City.

In De Kalb, New York, a new roadside marker has drivers contemplating an important question: Did the writer sit on the rock? According to legend, and now the sign, a teenage James Fenimore Cooper spent hours sitting on a local boulder, dreaming up his future stories. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Cooper ever visited De Kalb. (North Country Now)