Elizabeth Gilbert on Female Desire, James Daunt to Lead Barnes & Noble, and More


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.

“I dare you to call this chick lit!” Elizabeth Gilbert talks to BuzzFeed about female characters who choose “freedom over safety,” the valid criticisms of Eat, Pray, Love, and her new novel, City of Girls.

“The simple fact is that B&N needs money: People want to shop in places that look modern, clean, and inviting. The B&N stores look tired and need a little botox.” James Daunt is looking forward to the challenge of reviving the fortunes of Barnes & Noble as its new CEO following the bookseller’s sale to private equity firm Elliott Advisors. (Publishers Weekly)

This May, Penguin Random House Classics republished John Okada’s 1957 novel, No-No Boy, as part of an effort to include more books by Asian American writers in its Penguin Classics series. English professor Shawn Wong, who helped revive No-No Boy in the 1970s, says that Penguin Random House has trampled on the novel’s publishing history by ignoring the copyright he filed on behalf of Okada’s family in 1976. (NBC)

“I felt like what I was missing all the time in reading or looking for queer narratives was just queer lives lived without the opening salvos of whatever’s happening with that. I just wanted to experience the daily lived experience.” Kristen Arnett shares the impetus behind her debut novel, Mostly Dead Things. (Rumpus)

Last week at the Atlantic, Elizabeth Winkler put forward a theory of how Shakespeare created such extraordinary women: by being one. Now the magazine has asked Shakespearean actor Mark Rylance and academics and authors David Ellis, David Scott Kastan, Phyllis Rackin, and James Shapiro to respond to the possibility that the Bard was a woman named Emilia Bassano.

Author Natasha Tynes is suing Rare Bird Books for $13 million after the publisher canceled distribution of her debut novel, They Called Me Wyatt, following accusations of online racism. (Washington Post)

“Though you have left me, I’m not yet alone: / For what you were befriends the firelit room…” In the United Kingdom, an unpublished love poem by war poet Siegfried Sassoon has been discovered in the letters of Sassoon’s lover Glen Byam Shaw. (Guardian)

And Valerie Stivers cooks a meal from the recipes of poet and playwright Ntozake Shange: fried okra, couscous royale, “Catfish / The Way Albert Liked It,” and vegan chocolate torte. (Paris Review)