International Ghost Stories, Man Booker Winner Paul Beatty on History, 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:

Yesterday, Paul Beatty became the first U.S. author to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction. In a recent interview with the Indian Express, the author discusses his Booker-winning novel, The Sellout, as well as the experiences that shaped him as a writer and how he views his work. “I admire writers who write to change the world. However, I’d like to think that I don’t do that. That I write about a changing world.”

If you’re looking for a scary story to read this Halloween, writer Danny Heitman suggests revisiting Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1835 tale “Young Goodman Brown,” which Heitman calls “one of the scariest stories in American literature.” (Humanities)

And for a look at international ghouls, delve into this Words Without Borders list of ghost stories from around the world, which includes “terrifying and satisfying” tales from Moroccan, Japanese, and Malagasy writers.

A feature at Wired examines the real-life Biosphere 2 experiments—in which eight people lived under a bio-dome in the early 1990s—which served as inspiration for T. C. Boyle’s new novel, The Terranauts, out now from Ecco.

An academic study conducted in the U.K. reports that boys between the ages of five and eighteen read “less thoroughly” than girls of the same ages. The findings suggest that males are more likely to skip sections of books and perform lower on reading comprehension tests. (Guardian)

At the New Yorker, Thomas Mallon looks at how the current political climate could inspire novelists, considering the dramatic material provided by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. “Trump cannot surprise in any way; he is a flat character, and to put him in charge of any stretch of a novel, the way a point-of-view character is by definition in charge, would be as irresponsible as putting one of his small fingers on the nuclear button.” 

Mental Floss’s list of the ten oldest continuously operating stores in the world includes a U.S. bookstore. The Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was established in 1745.