Claudia Rankine to Fund Racial Imaginary Institute, Sleep at Dracula’s Castle, 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:

If you don’t have plans yet for Halloween, perhaps you’d like to spend the night in Dracula’s castle. Airbnb is offering a night’s stay at Bran Castle in Romania, the basis for Dracula’s residence in Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel. Not only will you meet a relative of the author—Dacre Stoker, Bram’s great nephew—you’ll also have the option to sleep in a plush coffin! (Telegraph)

Poet and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Claudia Rankine discusses her plans to use her $625,000 MacArthur stipend to found the Racial Imaginary Institute in New York City, a “space which allows us to show art, to curate dialogues, have readings, and talk about the ways in which the structure of white supremacy in American society influences our culture.” 

“He is someone who believes that each poet has her own music, and that rhythm imparts a heavy significance, both on the page and off.” Amanda Petrusich writes about the poetry of Peter Gizzi, whose latest collection, Archeophonics, is a finalist for the National Book Award. (New Yorker)

At Salon, novelist Teddy Wayne asks five fiction writers with new books—Brit Bennett, Jason Diamond, James Lasdun, Daniel Menaker, and Mark Slouka—about their influences, strengths, and what career they would choose if writing was not an option.

Thom Jones, an author best known for his short story collection The Pugilist at Rest, has died at age seventy-one. Jones worked as a high school janitor when he submitted his first story to the New Yorker, and quickly rose to acclaim. (New York Times)

Fiction writer Emily Barton talks about her latest novel, The Book of Esther; writing a young woman protagonist; and examining gender, sexuality, and genre fluidity in her work. (Rumpus)

In advance of their forthcoming novels, best-selling authors including John Grisham, Lee Child, and Jodi Picoult are releasing digital “singles,” standalone short stories or prequels to the books, for $1.99. (USA Today)