David Varno Elected President of National Book Critics Circle, Beirut Bookseller Describes Damage from Explosion, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

The board of the National Book Critics Circle has elected David Varno as its new president. Varno, who is the fiction reviews editor at Publishers Weekly, replaces acting president Jane Ciabattari and will hold the position through March 2021, when he will be eligible for reelection. (Publishers Weekly)

“There is not a door left, there’s not a pane of glass intact.” Bookstore owner Niamh Fleming-Farrell describes the destruction of her Beirut bookshop, Aaliya’s Books, caused by an explosion on Tuesday. In an update on the store’s Facebook page, she adds, “We’re also confident our community will endure and, with that unique form of obstinacy born of adversity, very hopeful Aaliya’s will reopen before too long.” (Shelf Awareness)

Alexis Soloski considers the legacy of H. P. Lovecraft and modern adaptions of his works which reckon with the titan of horror’s racism, sexism, and xenophobia. (New York Times)

“But it isn’t only in her writing that Faliveno lives within the nuanced in-betweens; it’s also in her own body, in her sexual orientation and gender identities.” Ilana Masad discusses Melissa Faliveno’s debut essay collection, Tomboyland. (NPR)

“You understand the moral implication of a broken contract, and you have expectations for how the people involved should behave, and I thought it might be more interesting to depict a marriage where both people have consented to this disruption.” Raven Leilani discusses her debut novel, Luster, and “the private, uncomfortable negotiations people make around partnership, and around sex.” (BOMB)

“Here was a writer who had dropped out of high school, worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, studied art, and whose steady, rumbling voice helped define what it meant to be a New Yorker.” Tom Robbins recalls the life and work of Pete Hamill, who died on August 5. (New Yorker)

“I spent long, lonely maternity leave days browsing the shelves at the local library, and then I read my picks while the baby napped. But what should I read, now that I inhabited this strange, new life?” Amelia Granger details the books she read in her first year of motherhood—all written by women. (The Millions)