Larry McMurtry and Beverly Cleary Have Died, Debate Over Translators for Amanda Gorman, 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.

Novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry died on Thursday at age eighty-four. Self-identifying as “a critic of the myth of the cowboy,” McMurtry was celebrated for his honest portrayals of the American West. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Lonesome Dove and cowrote the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain. (New York Times)

Beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary also died on Thursday at age 104. She earned widespread acclaim for her vibrant rendering of childhood through the eyes of characters such as Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby. Among her many honors, Cleary received the Newbery Medal for her book Dear Mr. Henshaw. (Washington Post

At the New York Times, Alex Marshall reports on the ongoing debate over the selection of translators for Amanda Gorman’s poetry. The matter came into the public eye after members of the literary community criticized Gorman’s Dutch publisher, Meulenhoff, for commissioning a white writer, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, for the project. Rijneveld subsequently stepped down. 

“When I listen to Poetry Unbound, I sit on my couch and close my eyes and feel the replenishing power of giving myself to something completely.” David Gardner writes in praise of Poetry Unbound, a podcast hosted by Pádraig Ó Tuama. (Vulture)

“Can we both define an identity and still be free? What are the beauties of the struggles our forebears achieved, and at what cost did we inherit them?” Nadia Q. Ahmad introduces a folio of reflections on the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh. (Margins)

“Might these actions, we wonder, be an attempt by Amazon to censor a writer because her ideas criticize institutions like Amazon?” The Massachusetts Review has written an open letter to Amazon, seeking an explanation for why the company is blocking e-book publication of Bird Girl by Avital Balwit. (Literary Hub)  

Emily Layden, the author of All Girls, recommends nine novels and one memoir that unfold on or around a campus. (Millions)

Meanwhile, novelist Nicola Derobertis-Theye recommends eight novels in translation set during the fascist era in Italy. (Electric Literature)