Hilary Mantel’s Controversial New Short Story, the Slow Reading Movement, 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:

Hilary Mantel has released the titular short story from her collection The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, which will be published later this month. At the Guardian, Mantel discusses how the story took her thirty years to write, why she feels “boiling detestation” for the former prime minister, and how the politics of Thatcher and Thomas Cromwell—the subject of Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies—differ. The Guardian reports that editors at the Daily Telegraph paid tens of thousands of pounds to secure exclusive publication rights to the story, but backed out of the deal after reading it.

In other British news, Prince Charles will participate in a thirty-six-hour marathon reading of Dylan Thomas’s poetry, letters, short stories, and other work. The reading will take place in October in Swansea, Dylan Thomas’s birthplace, to celebrate the centenary of the Welsh poet’s birth. Actors Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Derek Jacobi, Jonathan Pryce, and Matthew Rhys will also read. (Los Angeles Times)

At the Wall Street Journal, Jeanne Whalen considers the growth of slow reading clubs and silent reading parties, as well as the health benefits—reduced stress and improved concentration and ability to empathize—of uninterrupted reading.

HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster have both hustled to publish books on the terrorist group ISIS. HarperCollins will release ISIS: The State of Terror by Jessica Stern and J. M. Berger in January 2015; Simon & Schuster will publish a print edition of Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore, Jay Sekulow’s e-short, in October. (Publishers Weekly)

Amazon has released a suite of new and upgraded tablets, including a tablet designed for children. (Publishers Weekly)

Police in Ahmedabad, India, have detained Tibetan poet and activist Tenzin Tsundue. Tsundue was planning to stage a Free Tibet protest in front of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who was on a diplomatic visit to Ahmedabad earlier this week. (Times of India)

At Flavorwire, Elisabeth Donnelly takes a look at the uneven diversity of writers on the National Book Foundation’s longlists for its book awards in fiction and nonfiction, announced this week.

As part of the ongoing debate over whether adults should read young adult fiction, writer and critic Christopher Beha considers the American resistance to adulthood, and argues against the idea that books for adults necessarily sacrifice pleasure for the seriousness of art. “Much is taken from us as we pass out of childhood, but other human beings who have suffered these losses have created great works of art, works that can only be truly appreciated by those who have suffered the same losses in turn. These works are among the great recompenses that experience offers us. Putting down Harry Potter for Henry James is not one of adulthood’s obligations, like flossing and mortgage payments; it’s one of its rewards….” (New Yorker)