John Green on Writing About Mental Illness, Diversity in Publishing, 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:

“It’s not a mountain that you climb or a hurdle that you jump, it’s something that you live with in an ongoing way. People want that narrative of illness being in the past tense. But a lot of the time, it isn’t.” John Green talks about sharing his experiences with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder in his novel Turtles All the Way Down, which comes out today. (New York Times)

“When we expand the range of the industry’s gatekeepers, we expand the range of our storytelling, which expands our ability to see each other, to talk and listen to each other, and to understand each other.” One World editor Chris Jackson talks about his path to publishing and why diversity in the industry is important. (Literary Hub)

Ron Charles tells the story of how the small literary magazine One Story ended up publishing Tom Hanks, whose story collection, Uncommon Type, comes out next week from Knopf. (Washington Post)

Kaveh Akbar interviews Layli Long Soldier about content versus form in poetry, handling language with care, and her debut collection, WHEREAS. (Divedapper)

“She is a realist with a speculative bent of mind, a writer of postmodern inclinations with the instincts of an old-fashioned entertainer.” The New Yorker profiles novelist Jennifer Egan, whose latest novel, Manhattan Beach, came out last week.

After having his novel rejected more than thirty times by publishers for being, as he says, “too working class, too eighties, too immersed in pop culture, and too gay,” British writer Matt Cain crowdfunded enough money to self-publish his novel The Madonna of Bolton in less than a week.

Alexandra Alter profiles Nigerian author Nnedi Okorafor, who is redefining the fantasy genre with her young adult series that features “a head-spinning menagerie of otherworldly spirits and deities drawn from Nigerian myths and legends.” Viking published Okorafor’s latest novel, Akata Warrior, earlier this week. (New York Times)

The American Literary Translators Association has announced the winners of its 2017 awards: Valdivia by Galo Ghigliotto, translated from the Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky, won in poetry; and Zama by Antonio di Benedetto, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen, won in prose.