China’s Science Fiction Scene, Underrated Books of 2016, 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:

Chinese novelist Liu Cixin explains how the popularity of science fiction emerged in China in the wake of the Cultural Revolution and continues to grow. (Guardian)

Meanwhile, the January 2017 issue of WIRED is the publication’s first-ever issue dedicated entirely to science fiction. Editor Scott Dadich explains how the genre helps to make sense of our current—and future—times. “Science fiction has a robust history of inspiring real innovation…. Thinking up all sorts of different futures, embracing our fears and our dreams, is part of the process of building a better tomorrow." 

The website, which celebrates authors who published their first books over the age of thirty-five, has released its second annual list, featuring writers who debuted in 2016. For more proof that it’s never too late to start one’s literary journey, read the “5 Over 50” feature from the Poets & Writers November/December 2016 issue.

Writer Robert Fay considers how the epistolary collections of authors such as Elizabeth Bishop, Samuel Beckett, and Saul Bellow, provide valuable insight into the process of growing older. (Atlantic)

New York City’s Shakespeare & Co. bookstore has raised nearly eight million dollars to fund the store’s expansion into a national chain. (Publishers Weekly)

In other bookstore news, the legendary City Lights Bookstore, cofounded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1953, topped the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Best of Bay Area Books.” Runners-up include Heyday Books and the Mechanics’ Institute.

Longreads contributors, including Emily Books publisher Ruth Curry, nonfiction writer Michelle Tea, and literary critic Michelle Filgate, recommend books deserving of more recognition released in 2016.

The city of Los Angeles will announce its third official poet laureate early next year. Previous poets laureate include Luis Rodriguez, who served from 2014 to 2016, and Eloise Klein Healy, who served from 2012 to 2014. (

E. R. Braithwaite, the Guyanese author and diplomat whose best-selling autobiography, To Sir, With Love, inspired the popular Sidney Poitier film of the same name, has died at age 104. (NBC News)