Junot Díaz Novel Named Best of 21st Century, Prison Book Ban Lifted, 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:

A BBC Culture critics’ poll has selected Junot Díaz’s novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao as the best novel of the twenty-first century to date. (BBC News)

The longlist for the 2015 International Prize for Arabic Fiction was announced last week, and includes five women writers, which is the highest number of women to be longlisted in the prize’s history.

For Laura Miller, what’s more interesting about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s book club than the disappointing initial turnout and the boost in sales of relatively obscure books is the “emerging portrait of Zuckerberg as a reader.” (Salon)

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Nina Martyris examines how the works of W. H. Auden and French Renaissance writer Rabelais can teach us how to respond to the recent murders at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

Following protests and a high court ruling in December, a British ban on sending books to prison inmates is set to end in early February. Many high-profile writers from the United Kingdom were involved in the ban’s removal efforts, including Philip Pullman and Carol Ann Duffy. (Guardian)

In need of literary discussions during your morning commute? Jessica Gross has compiled a list of eight literary podcasts that feature interviews, recorded readings, authors in conversation with one another, and more. (Electric Literature)

An opinion article in the Chinese state-run paper China Daily comparing China and Egypt’s political systems was attributed to nonfiction author Peter Hessler. However, Hessler did not write the piece, nor does he share the opinions printed. (New York Times)

Amazon has released a digital textbook self-publishing platform called KDP EDU, which allows educators to design their own digital course materials and publish them to Amazon’s Kindle Store. (GalleyCat)