Graphic Narrative Anthology Spotlights India, Hemingway the Middlebrow Revolutionary, 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:

Thirty-two writers and artists living in India have contributed to First Hand, a new anthology of illustrated personal stories about social issues and political injustices in India. The anthology’s editors believe the graphic narrative format sheds light on their stories in a singular, memorable way. “A visual story allows the reader to be transported to where the story happened and when it happened,” says editor Vidyun Sabhaney. “This can make it feel very immediate.” (Voice of America)

“Like many men who pride themselves on their toughness and self-reliance, Hemingway was almost comically insecure and prone to betray anyone who had the effrontery to do him a favor.” Michael Bourne writes for the Millions about how Ernest Hemingway became the ideal figure of the “middlebrow revolutionary.”

Speaking of masculinity, Max Nelson looks at two new fiction books, Adam Ehrlich Sachs’s Inherited Disorders and Max Porter’s Grief Is the Thing With Feathers, and how each depicts fatherhood and the “all-male family unit.” (New Republic)

Meanwhile, a new genre may be emerging: “Slut Lit.” Joy Horowitz considers the genre, which she describes as books that are written by women and revolve around an “axis of hunger, sex, and death.” (Los Angeles Review of Books)

The Australian Booksellers Association, along with several other Australian publishing organizations, are protesting the Australian government’s proposal to turn the country into an open market for U.S. and U.K. title imports, saying it would devalue Australian writing. (Publishers Weekly)

The Round Rock school district’s decision to cancel visits by award-winning children’s author Phil Bidner to several Texas schools this fall has raised questions about whether censorship played a role—last year the school district criticized Bidner for recommending a book featuring a transgender student. (My Statesman)

At the Ploughshares blog, e. v. de cleyre explores recent critiques of sentimentality in literature, citing examples from writers Leslie Jamison, Nate Pritts, and Mary Ruefle. 

An upcoming biopic about the thirteenth-century Muslim poet Jalaluddin al-Rumi sparked controversy when screenwriter David Franzoni’s said he would like to cast Leonardi DiCaprio in the main role, and Robert Downey Jr. as Shams Tabrizi, Rumi’s spiritual instructor. Many feel that the screenwriter’s decision is the latest example of Hollywood whitewashing; the Internet has responded with the hashtag #RumiWasntWhite. (Guardian)