End of Libyan Censorship, Occupy Wall Street Library Seized (Again), 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 end of Moammar Kadafi's rule in Libya also severed his ban on certain books. In a ceremony held Monday at the Royal Palace in Tripoli, the end of the old regime's censorship was commemorated. "Tables were piled high with once-banned books as political hopefuls, returning expats and intellectuals gathered to celebrate the unbanning." (Los Angeles Times)

In the continuing saga over the Occupy Wall Street library, last night newly-donated books were confiscated by the New York Police Department. (GalleyCat)

A major publisher has joined the ranks of the self-publishers. Book Country, a subsidiary of Penguin Group, which is owned by Random House, "will offer an array of tools—ranging from professional e-book conversion to a cover creator—to help a writer make their work available through digital book outlets and print-on-demand services."  The fee will be between $99 and $549, plus a percentage of sales revenue. (Wall Street Journal)

Novelist Ann Patchett announced last summer she intended to fill the void created when her favorite bookstore closed in her hometown—yesterday Parnassus Books in Nashville opened for business. (New York Times)

Laura Miller speaks with writer Jonathan Lethem about his new collection, The Ecstasy of Influence, and how success in the literary world can be like being stuck in high school. (Salon)

Author Neil Gaiman has forever secured his place in the cultural firmament. This Sunday, The Sandman creator will appear as an animated character on The Simpsons. (Guardian)

If you're curious how the first edition of The Great Gatsby appeared, Flavorwire has collected some of their favorite first covers of classic novels.

The National Book Awards were held last night in New York City. Check out our recap at G&A: The Contest Blog, as well as our live tweets from the event.