HarperCollins to Buy Trade Publishing Division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Amanda Gorman Releases Book, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Yesterday HarperCollins, which is owned by News Corp, announced it has agreed to buy the trade publishing division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) for $349 million. HMH had put the division up for sale last fall so as to pay down debt and focus on its main business, educational publishing and technology. The news comes four months after Penguin Random House announced it had acquired Simon & Schuster for more than $2 billion. Many critics and industry groups warn that the increasing consolidation of the book industry will make it harder for both authors and smaller publishers to succeed. (New York Times)

To mark the publication of a special edition book of her inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb” today, poet Amanda Gorman appeared on Good Morning America to talk poetry, her growing platform, and what she’s learned since reading poems at the inaugration and the Super Bowl. “I think I’ve learned most for me that even as my microphone grows, I’m still so tied to the smaller places that my poetry gets shared in, and I’m learning that’s something that will never change for me.”

The longlist for the 2021 International Booker Prize has been announced. The list, which features thirteen novels translated into English and published in the U.K. and Ireland during the past year, includes titles originally written in Arabic, Chinese, Georgian, Spanish, and Russian, among other languages. The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced in June.

Workers at Duke University Press announced yesterday that they had formed a union as part of the NewsGuild, which also represents workers at the Associated Press, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune. The group has urged Duke University Press, a nonprofit publisher, and Duke University to recognize and collaborate with the union to “build a strong, transparent, equitable, and diverse future.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Besides buoyancy, the opposite of buoyancy drives my work a lot. It’s rage. It’s the feeling of being powerless. It’s the need to validate a feeling or an experience that has been erased by all the violence that surrounds us.” Poet Sally Wen Mao on the drivers and obsessions of her work. (Creative Independent)

“As a conversationalist and as an author, Oyeyemi is the queen of the sidelong glance, the misdirection, the parable that can be taken two ways.” Vulture profiles Helen Oyeyemi, whose novel Peaces comes out next month.

Scholastic, the publisher of Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series, is pulling a graphic novel spin-off of the series, which contains racial stereotypes of Asian people. Scholastic is withdrawing the book from libraries, schools, and bookstores, saying it perpetuates “passive” racism. Pilkey has apologized and announced he will donate the advance and royalties from the book to groups dedicated to stopping violence against Asian people and diversifying children’s books and publishing. (Associated Press)