Five Teens Named National Student Poets, Banned Books Scavenger Hunt, 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 President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities has announced the 2016 class of the National Student Poets Program (NSPP), the “nation’s highest honor for youth poets.” Now in its fifth year, the annual program appoints five teen poets representing five different regions of the country to serve as literary ambassadors in their communities. First Lady Michelle Obama announced the 2016 NSPP class in a ceremony at the White House yesterday, during which the students each read an original poem. (PR Newswire)

To celebrate Banned Books Week—which kicked off on Monday—Washington, D.C.’s public library system is hosting a citywide banned books scavenger hunt. Free copies of once-banned books will be hidden in businesses throughout the city until September 30. Titles include The Catcher in the Rye, Slaughterhouse-Five, and The Color Purple. (Washington Post)

In other public library news, the Athens-Limestone Public Library in Alabama will begin enforcing a city ordinance that sentences further fines or thirty days of jail time to patrons who fail or refuse to return overdue items. The library is currently owed approximately two hundred thousand dollars in overdue book fees. (Huffington Post)

Literary critic and Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will lead a €10 million fundraising campaign to convert James Baldwin’s former home in Saint-Paul de Vence, France, into an artist residency. Gates is working with the Franco-American nonprofit organization His Place in Provence to acquire the house from its current owner, a development company that plans to construct luxury apartments on the property.

Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore is set star in a film adaptation of Ann Patchett’s best-selling 2001 novel Bel Canto. Patchett’s latest novel, Commonwealth, will be released September 13 from HarperCollins. (Deadline)

“Today, if a novel is accepted into the American canon, it is as a masterpiece of individualism that subsumes material and social being into the spirit of a lone genius.” At the Baffler, Jonathan Sturgeon argues that a growing number of contemporary American novels eschew social and collective context and problems, focusing instead on the individual.

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, poet and editor Carmen Giménez Smith speaks about her writing process, the influences of second-wave feminism and Latina art on her work, and what it means to be a “literary citizen.”