Letter From the NBCC President, Two Hundred Years of Walt Whitman, and More

by Staff
4.17.19

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.

National Book Critics Circle president Laurie Hertzel has issued a passionate call to bookish friends old and new. “If you’re a book critic, if you’re a reader, if you appreciate and understand the importance of strong literary criticism and voices in a noisy world, please join us.” (Book Marks)

At the New Statesman, Ian McEwan discusses his new “anti-Frankenstein” novel, Machines Like Me, in which a robot named Adam can speak, breathe, and sleep with your girlfriend. “The science fiction of this bores me rigid. What I’m interested in is what it would be like to be close-up to this person.”

“The books are in their own order. They’re not alphabetized. They’re kind of in order of how much I love them.” At home with author and former New Yorker copyeditor Mary Norris. (New York Times)

It’s the two hundredth anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birthday on May 31, and the Library of Congress plans to celebrate with public programs, exhibitions, and a crowd-sourced effort to transcribe more than one hundred thousand pages of the poet’s writing.

Classics publisher Modern Library is set to launch a paperback series honoring women writers next month, with each edition including a new introduction by a contemporary woman author. The first titles in the Modern Library Torchbearers series are American Indian Stories by Zitkála-Sá, with an introduction by Layli Long Soldier; The Heads of Cerberus by Francis Stevens, with an introduction by Naomi Alderman; and Passing by Nella Larsen, with an introduction by Kaitlyn Greenidge. (Publishers Weekly)

Previously undiscovered poems by Rebecca author Daphne du Maurier have been found in an archive of letters up for auction. The poems, which had been tucked behind a photo frame, appear to have been written when the author was in her twenties and yet to publish her first novel. (Guardian)

“Walking a trail has become as important to me as writing.” The “religious conversion” of the old-growth forests that led Richard Powers to write The Overstory, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction on Monday. (Atlantic)

“When I was writing this book, I used only my mind, finding the words to tell the story of these characters. Now I’m using my heart and breath to tell their feelings.” Roxana Robinson on recording the audio book of her new novel, Dawson’s Fall. (New Yorker)