Fairy Tale Psychology, the Bill Gates Book Bump, and More


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 Library of Congress has named Gene Luen Yang the new national ambassador for young people’s literature. The ambassador serves a two-year term and is “selected for his or her contributions to young people’s literature, the ability to relate to kids and teens, and a dedication to fostering children’s literacy as a whole.” Yang is the first graphic novelist to be selected as ambassador. A two-time National Book Award finalist, Yang is also one of the writers of DC Comics’ Superman series. Yang will be inducted in a ceremony at the Library of Congress on January 7.

Some authors have found their books achieve unexpected sales jumps from a new phenomenon: the Bill Gates bump. Gates reviews and recommends books on a section of his blog, Gates Notes. “I have always loved reading and learning, so it is great if people see a book review and feel encouraged to read and share what they think online or with their friends,” says Gates. (New York Times)

Happy New Year, and new books! The Millions Great Book Preview begins with the most anticipated books of the first half of 2016.

From legendary literary editor Max Perkins to Harper Lee’s editor Tay Hohoff, NPR’s All Things Considered looks at how the role of the literary editor has changed over time.

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, poet Dorthea Lasky interviews poet Corina Copp about the influences and structure of her debut collection, The Green Ray, and the intersections between poetry and the performing arts.

On New Year’s Day, the copyright of Adolf Hitler’s 1924 manifesto Mein Kamp expired, and the book entered the public domain. Germany plans to release a new printing, but other publishers are hesitant to follow suit in fear of invoking anti-Semitic sentiments. (Week)

“The core of fairy tales seems to reach deeper—well beyond the delights and shocks caused by improbable events—towards a species of raw honesty and authenticity.” At the New Republic, author Ellen Handler Spitz examines the psychology of fairy tales and why they remain irresistible to contemporary readers.