Dead Sea Scrolls Online, an Author's Bill of Rights for the Digital Age, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

The Dead Sea Scrolls, written between the first and third centuries BCE, and hidden in caves to protect them from advancing Roman armies, are the oldest existing biblical manuscripts. They were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947, and have been the subject of study ever since. Today, through a partnership with the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Google, five of the eight Dead Sea Scrolls the Israel Museum has in its collection are digitized and online. (Christian Science Monitor)

The Writers' Union of Canada has created a bill of rights designed for the digital age. Intended to address the changing landscape of the publishing industry, the central tenets include that "the publisher shall split the net proceeds of e-book sales equally with the author" and "when a book is out of print in print form, continuing sales in electronic form shall not prevent a rights reversion to the author." (Vancouver Sun)

A collection of stolen correspondence from literary greats such as Kingsley Amis, T. S. Eliot, Ted Hughes, Gore Vidal, and Virginia Woolf have been returned to their owner in London. Rick Gekoski, an American-born academic, rare-book seller, and a judge of the Man Booker International Prize, had loaned the keys to his home to Tyrone Somers, his handyman. Somers stole the binder of historic papers, a laptop, and cash, but weeks later returned the letters to the police. Yesterday Somers was sentences to thirty months in prison after pleading guilty to robbery. (Independent)

ESPN columnist Paul Lukas writes of how an accidental discovery of an old, discarded file cabinet filled with report cards from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls provided him with the stories that would change his life. "It all reads like the storyboard for a movie or a play—the rough outline of a young woman's life, from her mid-teens through early adulthood, with the later chapters still to be written." (Slate)

Tomorrow, Amazon will unveil its new tablet e-reader, called the Kindle Fire. (TechCrunch)

The Millions reports that dozens of episodes of a 1970s-era cable TV show called Public Access Poetry—which featured poets such as Ted Berrigan, John Yau, and Eileen Myles—are online, and New York City's Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery is seeking funding to post the remaining shows.

Michelle Legro of Lapham's Quarterly and Jared Keller of the Atlantic have created a new website, the Lisa Simpson Book Club, which is a hilarious visual archive of literary references and spoofs played out on the long-running show, The Simpsons. For instance, “I’m George Plimpton, founder of the Paris Review. I also played the evil dean in Boner Academy." (Atlantic)

William Morrow has pulled the e-book version of Neal Stephenson's Reamde from Amazon. The Awl guesses the reason is because of complaints over sloppy formatting.

Brad Listi, the founder of the online magazine the Nervous Breakdown, has created the literary podcast Other People. The three episodes posted so far feature Listi's interviews with writers Melissa Febos, Jonathan Evison, and Emma Straub.