Disability Justice Activists Question Plans for Haymarket Anthology, Roxane Gay Writes on Daunte Wright, and More

by Staff
4.14.21

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.

Disability justice activists and writers have criticized Haymarket Books after it announced plans last week for a new anthology titled Against Ableism, edited by Shira Erlichman, Ilya Kaminsky, and Morgan Parker. On April 8, Jesse Rice-Evans and three anonymous writers published an open letter noting, among other concerns, that the three editors “have demonstrated little investment in the work of other disabled writers and artists.” The letter has since garnered more than three hundred additional signatures. Publishers Weekly has recapped the ensuing developments and dialogue

“In the past ten years I have written some version of this horrific recitation more times than I care to count. At this point, I am not even sure what this work is. Bearing witness? Adding my incandescent rage and disgust and exhaustion to the public record?” Roxane Gay writes about the limits of the written word and the murder of Daunte Wright by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. (Audacity/Substack)

“Black Horror, I feel, can never, except at its most ironic and campiest, divest itself from real black horror. Within the genre, how many degrees of freedom do black artists get in terms of deviating from the real-world violence we face.” Brandon Taylor writes about Black Horror and critiques how recent projects such as Them merely replicate real-world violence and center white anxiety. (Sweater Weather/Substack)

Library of America will publish a new novel by Richard Wright next week. The Man Who Lived Underground was rejected by Wright’s publishers during his lifetime, but the manuscript was rediscovered in 2010 by his daughter, Julia Wright. The novel follows Fred Daniels, a Black man brutalized and coerced by police to confess to murders he did not commit, who then escapes to the sewer system. “It’s not by accident that it was not published back in the 1940s,” Malcolm Wright, the author’s grandson, told the New York Times.

“Publishers are capitalizing on our collective need for comfort and inspiration.” Mark Athitakis contends that books that set out to “heal” can often be overly sentimental. (Washington Post)

Natalie Portman has signed on to play the lead role in the HBO Films adaptation of The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante. Portman will also serve as an executive producer. (Deadline)

Essence spotlights twenty poets—“our mirrors, healers, and judges”—including Danez Smith, Khadijah Queen, and Justin Phillip Reed.

Entertainment Weekly has revealed the cover of Sally Rooney’s next novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, which is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux on September 7.