Katie Kitamura on Contemporary Cognitive Dissonance, Barack Obama Shares Summer Reading, and More

by Staff

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.

“The narrator has a very partial understanding of what’s happening all around her. That felt to me like it might speak to how some people are feeling right now, this cascade of news.” Katie Kitamura reflects on exploring cognitive dissonance in contemporary life in her latest novel, Intimacies. (New York Times)

Former president Barack Obama’s summer reading list features eleven books this year, including Intimacies by Katie Kitamura, Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe, and Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen. (Bookseller)

An interview with Nguyen appeared in the First Fiction feature in the latest issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. An excerpt from Things We Lost to the Water is available online.

Duke University has petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to redo the union vote for staff at Duke University Press, citing “conduct undermining the fairness and integrity of the election process,” including a technical issue during the videoconference ballot count. The Duke University Press Workers Union has since responded with an open letter, which states “none of the things Duke’s lawyers are objecting to materially affected the proceedings or results.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Icelandic authors write for an audience of roughly 360,000 people. They are, in many ways, hopeless romantics, writing in a tiny tongue that both matters immensely and not at all.” In an essay and reading list translated by Larissa Kyzer, Thora Hjörleifsdóttir celebrates the unique strengths of the Icelandic literary community. (Literary Hub)

The Ink Factory intends to adapt How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang into a television series. “It feels quietly revolutionary to think that I might see two Chinese American kids swagger and stride across the screen,” says Zhang. (Deadline)

“Women are prepared to read books by men, but many fewer men are prepared to read books by women.” MA Sieghart, the author of The Authority Gap, writes about the consequences of men overlooking women authors. (Guardian)

“You do grow a novelist’s callus. I remember with my first novel, I was so afraid that my aunts would see the language, the damn and hell and stuff.” Diane Johnson discusses writing her eleventh novel, Lorna Mott Comes Home. (Kirkus)

Genevieve Plunkett recommends fiction that involves unconventional intimacies, including Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi and What Happens at Night by Peter Cameron. (Electric Literature)