Jonathan Karp Reaffirms Pence Book Deal, Former Students Accuse Blake Bailey of Sexual Misconduct, and More

by Staff
4.21.21

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 an e-mail to staff, Simon & Schuster president and CEO Jonathan Karp reaffirmed that the company will maintain its two-book deal with Mike Pence. “We come to work each day to publish, not cancel, which is the most extreme decision a publisher can make,” he wrote. An open letter from the “workforce of Simon & Schuster” was recently circulated which called on the publisher to terminate its contract with Pence. The letter also demanded the company sever all ties with distribution client Post Hill Press, which is publishing a book by one of the police officers involved in the murder of Breonna Taylor. So far, Simon & Schuster has only committed to not distributing that particular title. (Bookseller)

Several women who were taught by biographer Blake Bailey at Lusher Middle School in the nineties have accused the author of grooming, including cultivating and taking advantage of his status as a mentor figure. One former student has stated Bailey raped her in her early twenties. Bailey, via his lawyer, has denied these allegations. Meanwhile, the Story Factory has chosen to cease representing Bailey. (Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate)

“We often behave as if there’s something inherently shameful about reading and writing fan fiction.” Alexandria Juarez highlights eight books that prove fan fiction can be literary, including The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld. (Electric Literature)

“I was just convinced that the book couldn’t be in English, because I didn’t know where in me it had come from.” Jhumpa Lahiri talks to the New York Times about her latest novel, Whereabouts, which she originally wrote and published in Italian before translating the novel into English.

“Antarctica—an imagined one, not the real place—kept calling to me, for reasons I didn’t understand at the time.” Dennis James Sweeney, the author of In the Antarctic Circle, discusses using Antarctica as a metaphor to explore whiteness and loneliness. (BOMB)

“There’s a moment when you feel yourself being afraid or being cautious, and then getting over it feels good and you can tell when you’re being honest or true in some way.” Lauren Oyler reflects on how her life as a critic informed the writing of her first novel, Fake Accounts. (Creative Independent)

“Why is there also this idea that if you’re not publishing right at this moment, then you must not be any good?” Jen Bannan writes about the higher purpose of writing. (Millions)