German Authors Join Amazon Protest, the Neuroscience of Distraction, 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:

Following the lead of a growing number of American authors, more than a thousand writers from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have joined in the protest against Amazon, writing an open letter to the retailer in response to tactics used against Switzerland’s Bonnier Group in a battle over e-book prices. “Amazon manipulates recommendation lists,” the letter reads. “Amazon uses authors and their books as a bargaining chip to exact deeper discounts.” (New York Times)

Meanwhile, while delivering the inaugural PEN/HG Wells lecture in London last week, American author Audrey Niffenegger, who announced that she is writing a sequel to her best-selling novel The Time Traveler’s Wife, said, “The biggest threat to the arts that I can think of at the moment [is Amazon].” (The Bookseller)

“Are the luxuries of time on which deep reading is reliant available to us anymore? Even the attention we deign to give to our distractions, those frissons, is narrowing.” At Salon, Michael Harris discusses his failed attempts to read War and Peace, and the neuroscience of constant distraction in the digital age.

Louise Erdrich, author most recently of the novel The Round House, has won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize’s distinguished achievement award. (

In this week’s installment of the New York Times’s By the Book series, author Terry Pratchett says the best kind of fantasy novel is “the kind that isn’t fantastic.”   

Wired considers the science behind typos, and why it’s often so difficult for writers to catch their own mistakes.

Actress Lindsay Lohan recently confirmed that she plans to write a three-volume memoir. “I like to write because it’s like therapy for me,” Lohan said, adding, “it will probably be like a trilogy, like Harry Potter.” (SFGate)

Clearly Wolters, the woman who inspired the character Alex Vause on the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, has signed a memoir deal with HarperOne. The book, entitled Out of Orange, will detail Wolters’s time in prison and her relationship with Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman. (GalleyCat)