Industry Anticipates Demand for Obama Memoir, Patterson Named the Best-Selling Author of the Decade, and More

by Staff

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.

In anticipation of high demand for Barack Obama’s forthcoming memoir, A Promised Land, Penguin Random House has printed 3.4 million copies for U.S. and Canadian sellers. The New York Times reports on how the book, which comes out tomorrow, might buoy independent bookstores struggling due to the pandemic.  

NPD BookScan reports that James Patterson is the best-selling author of the past decade. Counting both print and e-book sales, Patterson sold 84 million units between 2010 and 2019. (Publishers Weekly)

Barnes & Noble has announced the finalists for its second annual Barnes & Noble Book of the Year distinction. The list of eight books features both fiction and nonfiction, including Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half and Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s World of Wonders.   

“To understand the meaning of hope, joy, optimism, and resilience for me, I had to speak about rape.” Michelle Bowdler writes about the decision to include the word rape in the title of Is Rape a Crime? A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto. (Literary Hub)

“There’s kind of an aesthetic dimension to theory as a genre of literature, and I want to make it fresh, make it new.” At the Believer, McKenzie Wark discusses her pursuit of new, liberatory language

“I am a writer because I am Puerto Rican. I am a poet because I am a queer Puerto Rican.” Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, the author of The Life Assignment, on poetry as a site for complexity. (BOMB)

“These were great teachers to me about how to present a spectacle, or how to describe a spectacle, or how to talk about significant events in New York or in my cultural life.” Hilton Als revisits a selection of film excerpts that have defined his development as an artist. (Guernica)

“I’d like this book to insert some new lines into common usage.” Dwight Garner talks with his editor, Jonathan Galassi, about the many years of reading and writing that informed his new book, Garner’s Quotations. (FSG Work in Progress)