Istanbul Bookshop Creates Haven for Young Syrians, Writing Through Shock, 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:

Samer al-Kadri, the founder of Istanbul’s first Arabic bookstore, is on a quest create a space for young Syrians who want to learn about the world and escape the isolation of refugee life. “I’m incredibly happy,” said al-Kadri. “This generation is surprising me with their understanding, their openness, their dialogue.” (Guardian)

“To write in and of America, we must be ready to...fight in the streets and in our sentences.” Fiction writer and essayist Aleksander Hemon examines how to write in the age of Donald Trump. “The necessary thing to do is to transform shock into a high alertness that prevents anything from being taken for granted—to confront fear and to love the way it makes everything appear strange.” (Village Voice)

Meanwhile, novelist Kaitlyn Greenidge speaks with novelist, theorist, and activist Sarah Schulman about her new book, Conflict Is Not Abuse, in which Schulman outlines her theory of the public tendency to “overstate harm,” or to “claim that the most endangered are instead dangerous,” and how the book’s observations might play out in the new presidential administration. (Lenny)

“I care about articulating states or conditions that we don’t have easy language for. I care to find ways to articulate aspects of the inner life. I’m interested in writing as a form of introspection.” Fiction writer Anuk Arudpragasam discusses his approach to writing his acclaimed debut novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, and engaging with the novel’s dark subject matter—the nature of life in a war zone. (Guernica)

Originally published in Dutch and considered a “Dutch classic,” Gerard Reve’s 1947 novel The Evenings has finally been translated into English for the first time. In November, Pushkin Press published Sam Garret’s English translation in Britain, and will release it in the United States on January 31. (New York Times)

The American Library Association has announced the recipients of its 2017 Youth Media Awards. Winners include poet Naomi Shihab Nye, who received the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award; and congressman John Lewis and his coauthors Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, who took home both the Printz and YALSA awards for nonfiction and excellence in young adult literature, respectively.

In a bid to end a European Union antitrust probe and avoid a fine, Amazon has offered to scrap clauses in its e-book contracts, which would have forced publishers to provide contract terms as good as competitor e-book distributors. (Fortune)