Kiese Laymon on Truth in Art, Pamela Paul on Alice Walker Controversy, 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 wrote that book because I didn’t want to celebrate or be a silent survivor of moral failure anymore.” At Guernica, Kiese Laymon talks to fellow nonfiction writer Lacy M. Johnson about his recent memoir, Heavy, and the importance of truth-telling in both art and life.

After receiving criticism for a recent interview with Alice Walker, in which The Color Purple author lauded a writer who has been accused of anti-Semitism, New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul responds.

New York’s Donadio & Olson literary agency has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy following years of embezzlement by its former bookkeeper, Darin Webb, who reportedly stole more than $3.4 million from the agency over eight years and was sentenced this week to two years in prison. (Publishers Weekly)

“Reading the books was a strange, dreamlike experience, a quiet onslaught.” At the Millions, Lydia Kiesling writes about anxiety, motherhood, publishing her first book, and her year in reading—which was mostly Knausgaard’s My Struggle.  

The Chicago Review of Books highlights the ten best nonfiction books of 2018, including Alexander Chee’s How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, Nicole Chung’s All You Can Ever Know, and Elisa Gabbert’s The Word Pretty.

Read a Q&A with Chee about How to Write an Autobiographical Novel and hear him read from his collection, and read an interview with Gabbert in our latest installment of Ten Questions. (Poets & Writers)

At NPR, critic John Powers laments his “Ghost List,” the books, movies, and television he loved this year but wasn’t able to review, including Nafissa Thompson-Spires’s story collection, Heads of the Colored People.

Listen to Spires read from her debut collection, which was long-listed for the 2018 National Book Award. (Poets & Writers)