Inside Tolkien’s Notebooks, Ottessa Moshfegh’s Letter to Trump, 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:

The New York Times peeks inside J. R. R. Tolkien’s notebooks to get a look at how the famed fantasy writer meticulously developed his five Elvish languages.

“Because you seem to know, too, that reality is flexible, that you can bend it with your mind and words, at least sometimes.” Ottessa Moshfegh pens a letter to Donald Trump. (Western)

More than thirty debut authors have joined together to launch Authors for Families, a fundraising initiative to help organizations working to reunite immigrant families separated at the border. (Publishers Weekly)

“I think the book is really staking a claim of the right of trans and gender non-conforming people to write speculative fiction. To fictionalize instead of being subjected to certain kinds of demands that intersect with a very bad history of treating trans people like case histories.” Jordy Rosenberg talks with Barnes and Noble Review about his debut novel, Confessions of the Fox.

Read more about the people who helped bring Rosenberg’s book into the world in “The Business of Relationships: How Authors, Agents, Editors, Booksellers, and Publicists Work Together to Reach Readers.” (Poets & Writers)

Washington Post book critic Ron Charles makes a case for authors to respond publicly to reviews of their books.

“As things heat up, toss in a third calamity.” Kate Christensen, whose latest novel, The Last Cruise, came out this week, offers a recipe for “how to create the perfect storm in a novel.” (Signature Reads)

“Books require that people recount their emotions; documentaries require that people bare the same emotions in front of a film crew.” Writer Andrew Solomon describes watching his book about parenting, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, being adapted into a documentary. (New York Times)

The Guardian considers the writing of musician Florence Welch, who recently published a book of lyrics and poetry, Useless Magic.