Junot Díaz on Puerto Rico, Banned Books Week, 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:

“I don’t need to rehearse to you the situation that is facing the Puerto Rican nation. It is dire beyond anything that we have seen in five hundred years.” Writer Junot Díaz spoke at a fundraising event for Hurricane Maria relief on Sunday in Boston. (Huffington Post)

Meanwhile, authors are mobilizing support for Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas: Kate Messner raised more than a hundred thousand dollars from the children’s literature community through the online auction KidLit Cares, and Becky Wallace has collected and donated almost 2,500 books to schools that were affected by the hurricane. (Publishers Weekly)

“His mind is pure curiosity: It aspires to flow into every last corner of the world, especially the places most of us overlook.” The New York Times profiles John McPhee.

On Monday the American Library Association kicked off Banned Books Week by releasing its annual list of the top ten most banned books. The most banned book in 2016? This One Summer, a young adult graphic novel written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki.

Christine Hauser takes a closer look at each of the ten banned books, and considers whether “helicopter parents are turning into Velcro parents.” (New York Times

“…I think that we should all ‘take a knee’ and remember those who are not as fortunate, who find themselves immediately and consistently in the crosshairs of injustice.” Washington State poet laureate Tod Marshall has written an op-ed for the Seattle Times speaking out against Trump.

The Nation has published a newly discovered story by Kurt Vonnegut. Earlier this week, Seven Stories Press released a nine-hundred-page book that collects all of Vonnegut’s published stories, as well as a selection of unpublished pieces.

Emory University has acquired the sixty-year-old letter Neal Cassady wrote to Jack Kerouac, which Kerouac credited as the inspiration for his Beat classic On the Road and described as “the greatest piece of writing I ever saw.” The university will display the letter in its exhibit on the Beat generation that opens today. (Emory News Center)