Literary Associations Resist Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster Merger, Patricia Lockwood Searches for Original Language, 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.

The Authors Guild has submitted a letter to the Department of Justice to request that officials block the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. Cosigned by five other literary associations and the Open Markets Institute, the letter also calls for additional proactive interventions: “The Department of Justice must begin today to proactively restructure the entire U.S. market for books in ways that also deal with the danger posed by Amazon.” (Publishers Weekly)

“You have to look for where the language goes crunchy, where everybody starts saying the same things and formulating their reactions in the same way—and step out of it.” Patricia Lockwood talks to the Guardian about searching for original language.

R. O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell discuss coediting Kink, a new anthology featuring short stories by Carmen Maria Machado, Brandon Taylor, and Alexander Chee, among others. “We don’t all have to agree on what kink is or isn’t. What was exciting to me was breaking away from certain kinds of clichés,” says Greenwell. (BOMB)

“It’s funny, when the first book came out I talked a lot about all of the climate change elements. And then when the pandemic hit, the discussion became centered around disaster psychology.” Jenny Offill reflects on the evolving response to her latest novel, Weather. (Entertainment Weekly)

“Much as I value serious literary fiction, I find reading it to be exceptionally draining. All that raw emotion!” Taking a breather from fiction, Michael Dirda reads nonfiction about writers and writing. (Washington Post)

“Maybe that’s an immigrant alarm, an immigrant boy’s alarm: ‘I don’t belong here. I don’t really know the language, figuratively and literally.’” Chang-rae Lee recalls wrestling with imposter syndrome during the writing of his latest novel, My Year Abroad. (New York Times)

“It is not an accident that the history of the rape-revenge movie, from sleazy exploitation flicks to revered classics, is dominated by male filmmakers.” Carmen Maria Machado reviews Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman, unpacking the film’s subversion of the rape-revenge movie genre. (New Yorker)

“When you’re dealing with really dark material, I think humor makes those topics much more approachable, both as a writer and as a reader.” Elizabeth Gonzalez James discusses the sardonic tone of her debut novel, Mona at Sea. (Rumpus)