Language Spats, Melissa Febos on the Female Memoir, and More


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.

“When something is very painful and I’m struggling emotionally or psychologically, I understand that writing performs a kind of alchemy on it that makes it valuable, that makes it worth it, and in the moment when I’m suffering, I want some promise that it will be worth it.” At the Creative Independent, nonfiction author Melissa Febos talks about fear, the female memoir, and writing as a form of self-care.

From split infinitives to gendered bridges, the Guardian surveys the linguistic controversies that keep us arguing.

“Rites of passage are gateways to inclusion in an inner circle, but the milestones of female life are chiefly represented from the point of view of outside observers.” Sarah Manguso looks for books about menopause. (New Yorker)

For a brief period in the 1960s, author, artist, and fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt was also a children’s book critic. In memory of Vanderbilt, who died on Monday, the New York Times shares her reviews of Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy, Ted Hughes’s How the Whale Became, and more.

Best-selling author Nicholas Sparks is facing accusations of homophobia and racism following the release of e-mails revealing his opposition to the formation of an LGBTQ club at Epiphany School, the private Christian academy in North Carolina that Sparks founded in 2006. (Vulture)

Scholastic announced author Suzanne Collins will publish a prequel to her Hunger Games series. Slated for publication in May 2020, the young adult novel will revisit the world of Panem—the setting of Collins’s mega-selling trilogy—sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games. (Publishers Weekly)

The Washington Post recommends ten books that speak to “the in-betweens of diasporic existence,” including Fatimah Asghar’s poetry collection, If They Come for Us, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah.

“I’ve written in bathtubs of hotel rooms so as not to wake my companions, I’ve written on napkins in restaurants, I’ve written on my phone on the train, sitting under a tree or on a rock, and on my own arm in a pinch.” In this week’s installment of Ten Questions, Catherine Chung talks with Poets & Writers about her second novel, The Tenth Muse, out today from Ecco.