D.C. Bookstores Close Early, Workplace Abuses at Small Press Distribution, and More

by Staff
1.7.21

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.

Shelf Awareness reports on how yesterday’s riot and domestic terror attack on the U.S. Capitol affected booksellers in Washington, D.C. Several stores closed early, well before the 6 PM curfew. 

Multiple current and former employees of Small Press Distribution have spoken out about workplace abuses. The flurry of allegations was sparked by an article written by an anonymous former employee, posted on Medium in early December, which accused management of wage theft, hostility, and retaliation. While the board has promised to hire an outside investigator and a mediator, many current and former employees have expressed frustration with the pace of the response. More than 250 people have signed an open letter, which among other things, calls for the resignation of executive director Brent Cunningham. (Publishers Weekly)

A commemorative coin that honors the work of H. G. Wells has drawn criticism from the author’s fans. Astute readers noted two inaccuracies: On the coin, Wells’s Martian tripod is depicted with an extra leg, and his invisible man character is sporting the wrong hat. (New York Times)

“By writing a novel I felt like I could hide from some things and only write about the parts that I wanted to, but it was too close to my life to be fictionalized.” Nadia Owusu recalls the decision to switch from fiction to memoir during the writing of Aftershocks. (Los Angeles Times)

“I don’t put anything on the page that I don’t think sounds beautiful when it is read aloud. But I do think there is a distinction between exceptionally good spoken word poems and poems that sing on the page.” Joshua Bennett, the author of Owed, reflects on his poetic education. (Millions)

“A story is like a laboratory to help you identify your own habits and projections.” George Saunders explains his love for the short story. (Guardian)

Literary Hub has announced its most anticipated titles of 2021, including a total of 228 books.

Likewise, Vulture has compiled a list of 2021 books to watch out for, including new novels from Kazuo Ishiguro and Rachel Cusk.