Junot Díaz Responds to Abuse Allegations, Barnes and Noble in Trouble, 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:

After novelist Zinzi Clemmons and several other women writers accused Junot Díaz of sexual misconduct and verbal assault last week, Díaz has released a statement through his agent, Nicole Aragi. “I take responsibility for my past,” he said. “That is the reason I made the decision to tell the truth of my rape and its damaging aftermath. This conversation is important and must continue. I am listening to and learning from women's stories in this essential and overdue cultural movement.” In April, Díaz had published an essay at the New Yorker about being raped as a child. (New York Times)

Eleven writers, including Curtis Sittenfeld and Tayari Jones, recommend the indie bookstores worth traveling for. (Lonely Planet)

“So why not remove the annual obligation and, instead, award the Nobel Prize in literature only when a truly world-class author arises?” Following the Swedish Academy’s announcement that it will not award a Nobel Prize in literature this year, Ron Charles points out some of the flaws of the award and argues it shouldn’t be awarded annually. (Washington Post)

Speaking of awards, the National Book Foundation has started a petition process to allow books by noncitizens to be eligible for its annual awards, which are currently only open to U.S. citizens. (Publishers Weekly)

Meanwhile, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses has announced the finalists for its annual Firecracker Awards, given for independently and self-published literature. The winners will be announced on June 7.

David Leonhardt writes an op-ed in support of Barnes & Noble, which he argues is in financial trouble due to competition from Amazon and the government’s leniency towards monopolies. (New York Times)

“I think writing itself is, from the start, distillation. When I write, I’m trying to distill how I need to say a thing down to the fewest and most necessary words.” Poet Carl Phillips talks about his revision process with Guernica.

Margo Jefferson talks with the Guardian about Michael Jackson, child stars, and the last great book she read.