Languages From Home, a World Where Books Are Dead, 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.

“Jamaican patois is the language we leave behind, the one we tuck away lest it define who we are.” Donna Hemans reflects on her relationship to Jamaican patois, and turning to literature to help unlearn the shame associated with this “language of home.” (Electric Literature)

In a speculative essay for the New York Times, Alix E. Harrow imagines the world in 2039: Books are dead, replaced by an advanced form of virtual reality she calls “the Verse.” 

New York Times Magazine profiles Ken Liu, a translator whose work has helped popularize Chinese science fiction among English readers. In conversation with Alexandra Alter, Liu also speaks to the complicated politics of translation work in light of China’s censorship laws. 

Today host Jenna Bush Hager has chosen Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl as the next read for her book club. “Even though it’s a quick read, I read it really slowly—which is unlike me—because I wanted every word to mean something,” Hager commented. (Kirkus Reviews)

Renkl was featured in Poets & Writers Magazine’s annual 5 Over 50 list. An excerpt from Late Migrations is available here

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, JP Gritton discusses his debut novel, Wyoming, and the challenges of writing an unlikable character

Dan Kois, books editor at Slate, selects the ten best books of 2019. He includes nonfiction, fiction, and one graphic novel. 

Literary Hub asked twenty-five authors—Carmen Maria Machado, Garth Greenwell, among others—to recommend underrated books from the past decade

In a tongue-in-cheek play on the internet’s many end-of-year reading lists, Andrea Long Chu reflects on a year of not-reading—and the three titles for which she made an exception. (Millions)