Ken Chen to Leave Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Sally Rooney Mania, and More

by Staff

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 eleven years of service, Ken Chen will leave the Asian American Writers’ Workshop at the end of this month. As executive director, Chen quadrupled the nonprofit’s budget and oversaw the launch of several initiatives, including the online magazine the Margins and PAGE TURNER: The Asian American Literary Festival.

The sequel to Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Michael Wolff’s best-selling Trump tell-all, will be released in early June. Siege: Trump Under Fire reportedly covers Donald Trump’s second year in office through the conclusion of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference. The book is based on interviews with 150 sources, not including Trump. (Hill)

Interview magazine offers dispatches from the front lines of New York City book shopping, where booksellers are trying to keep up with “Sally Rooney Mania” following the release of the author’s second novel, Normal People. “We keep ordering seven, ten every day,” says one bookseller. 

More than a few of those booksellers commented on the importance of the cover designs of Rooney’s books. Jon Gray, the designer behind the U.K. edition of Normal People, explains his process in creating covers for books by authors such as Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Safran Foer. (It’s Nice That)

When Amrita Somaiya, Anuradha Parikh, Sangita Jindal, and Ashwani Kumar discovered their children were reading books in English, they set out to share India’s regional literature with its young readers by founding the Indian Novels Collective. The group aims to translate one hundred novels from thirteen Indian languages into English. (Book Riot)

Despite a rise in overall book industry sales for the first quarter of 2019, bookstore sales fell by 8.4 percent, dropping from $2.59 billion in 2018 to $2.37 billion for the first three months of this year. (Publishers Weekly)

In the latest installment of By the Book, singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco shares the memoirs that influenced her new memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream. “I was struck with how subjective and highly suspect even my own account seemed to be at times!” (New York Times)

At the New Inquiry, Raquel Salas Rivera and Carina del Valle Schorske discuss what it means to be a Puerto Rican poet, the devastation of Hurricane María, and a friendship discovered through the poetry of Marigloria Palma.