Herman Wouk Has Died, Reading George Orwell Today, and More

by Staff

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.

“Imaginative writing is a wonderful way of life, and no man who can live by it should ask for more.” The perennially best-selling novelist Herman Wouk has died. He was 103. (New York Times)

At the Guardian, Dorian Lynskey charts the enduring relevance of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. “During the Cold War, it was a book about totalitarianism. In the 1980s, it became a warning about technology. Today, it is most of all a defense of truth.”

The Sewanee Writers’ Conference has named Leah Stewart its new director. Stewart, professor and chair of the English department at the University of Cincinnati, succeeds founding director Wyatt Prunty, who will step down at the end of this summer after leading the conference for thirty years.

“When you write about art, you’re writing about something that has moved you, and you’re left struggling to describe it. That is in some ways the basic act of criticism—applying the analytical mind to the wordless realm of emotion.” Music critic Jayson Greene on writing about the grief of losing a child in his memoir, Once More We Saw Stars, and finding a talisman in Dante’s Inferno. (Atlantic)

At Vulture, novelist Elif Shafak shares her ten “desert island” books, including Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel An Artist of the Floating World and Audre Lorde’s essay collection Sister Outsider.

For Game of Thrones fans looking for a new obsession, CNET recommends upcoming fantasy, science fiction, and thriller adaptations to assume rulership of your weekends, from a new big-screen version of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune to an HBO adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s novel Who Fears Death, which will be executive produced by George R. R. Martin himself.

English car manufacturer Bentley is marking its centenary with three limited edition books about its luxury vehicles. Published by Opus, the books cost up to $250,000—the most expensive being the “100 Carat Edition,” decorated, naturally, with one hundred carats of diamonds. (Los Angeles Times)

“Books get their ballast from the reader’s interpretation brought to the text. It’s one of the things you have to learn to relinquish as a writer.” Poet and novelist Nii Ayikwei Parkes talks to the Los Angeles Review of Books about reconciling different ways of looking at the world.