China Sentences Writer to Eleven Years, Le Guin Leaves Authors Guild, and More

Adrian Versteegh

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:

In what PEN American Center president Kwame Anthony Appiah called a “show trial” and a “scandal,” Chinese literary critic and PEN member Liu Xiaobo was sentenced on December 25 to eleven years in prison for his role in authoring Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto that has so far been signed by over three hundred Chinese intellectuals and thousands of activists worldwide (Press Release).

While Barnes & Noble reportedly managed to deliver all pre-ordered Nooks on time, a surfeit of download requests on Christmas Day caused a temporary jam in the retailer’s e-book network (Engadget).

After nearly four decades of membership, author Ursula K. Le Guin has resigned from the Authors Guild in protest of the Google Book Search settlement, which she called a “deal with the devil” (Publishers Weekly).

Black Oak Books—a Berkeley, California, indie that shut down last year—has reopened across town in a larger, less expensive location (San Francisco Chronicle).

Borders has announced that it will spare about twenty of the two hundred Waldenbooks outlets originally slated to close by January (DailyFinance).

Despite its $195 cover price, Carl Jung’s legendary Red Book (Norton, 2009)—which details, through calligraphy and artwork, the Swiss psychiatrist’s encounters with his own unconscious—is climbing the nonfiction best-seller lists (New York Times).

English-language titles from Random House are being made available worldwide through Amazon’s international Kindle store (Press Release).

A professor of child development has raised concern about the effects of e-books and other digital media on the brain (Christian Science Monitor).