Joyce Carol Oates on Climate Catastrophe, Year-to-Date Book Sales, and More


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.

“Accusing others of ‘catastrophizing,’ even as the world is disintegrating and one’s own health has become tenuous, is a form of denial in which most/many of us indulge daily.” At the New Yorker, Joyce Carol Oates discusses her new story, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and anxiety in the midst of global disaster.

The six Booker Prize finalists share the origin stories of their shortlisted titles. Lucy Ellmann describes employing collage in Ducks, Newburyport, and Bernardine Evaristo shares why she considers Girl, Woman, Other “fusion fiction.” (Guardian)

Publishers Weekly takes stock of unit sales of print books from January to September this year. Compared to the same period in 2018, sales have dipped slightly for most genres. The article also reports the year-to-date bestseller is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, which has sold 1.4 million copies in 2019 alone. 

The Guardian considers the playing field ahead of the unveiling of the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes for literature this Thursday. Commentators expect the prizes will likley honor authors writing in a language other than English and that at least one of the prizes will be awarded to a woman. Possible contenders include Maryse Condé, Ma Jian, László Krasznahorkai, and Olga Tokarczuk. 

Writer and bookseller Kelsey Rexroat describes the joy of wandering a used bookstore without a specific shopping list in mind. (Literary Hub)

In the latest installment of the Guardian’s Books That Made Me series, Clive James shares what he loves about Philip Larkin’s poetry: “Sometimes I could swear his memories were mine.”

The illustrator Grant Snider dreams up a carnival with a literary twist. Highlights include rides like “plot swings” and a caterpillar-like “Eric Carle Coaster,” plus stalls for “fresh-squeezed romance” and “deep-fried memoir.” (New York Times)

My god, isn’t it fun to read Eve Babitz?” At the Paris Review Daily, Molly Lambert reflects on the novelist’s lesser-known essays, newly collected by the New York Review Books.