Lost Truman Capote Stories, Chinese Poet Wang Zang Detained by Police, and More


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:

Sixty-nine-year-old French novelist Patrick Modiano has won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. Though critically acclaimed in France, Modiano is not widely published in the United States; David R. Godine, publisher of the eponymous independent press based in Boston, has published three of Modiano’s novels in translation. (Washington Post) ­Read more about today’s prize announcement on the Grants & Awards blog.

The German publication ZEITmagazin has published German translations of four lost stories by Truman Capote, written when the author was between the ages of eleven and nineteen. Swiss publisher Peter Haag and Capote’s German-language editor, Anuschka Roshani, discovered the stories, as well as several poems, in the Capote archive at the New York Public Library last summer. Some of the stories, written out in Capote’s tiny handwriting, had to be transcribed with the help of a magnifying glass. Random House will publish a collection of the work in English—featuring twenty stories and a dozen poems—in December 2015. (New York Times)

Chinese police have detained eight people, including poet Wang Zang, who were planning to participate in a Beijing poetry reading last Thursday in support of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Wang Zang, who posted a photo on Twitter in support of the protests, has been detained for “provoking trouble,” an offense that carries a sentence of up to three years in prison. (Telegraph)

Meanwhile, former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins speaks with the Washington Post about the interaction between poetry, leadership, and social responsibility. “I think if a poet wanted to lead, he or she would want the message to be unequivocally clear and free of ambiguity. Whereas poetry is actually the home of ambiguity, ambivalence, and uncertainty.”

The Bookcase, the oldest independent bookstore in the Twin Cities, will close later this month. Owner Charlie Leonard explained that both the changing shopping habits of readers and the constant disruption of construction projects in the Minneapolis–St. Paul area have contributed to his decision to shutter the store. (Star Tribune)

On a panel at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Olav Stokkmo, chief executive of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations, urged publishers to lead the charge in educating the public about copyright. Stokkmo argued that with the growth of the Internet, the public has higher expectations for what content should be accessible and a limited, often incorrect, understanding of copyright. (Publishers Weekly)

Beat poet Diane Di Prima has published her first full-length poetry collection in over forty years with San Francisco's City Lights Books. The Poetry Deal, released this past Monday, chronicles forty years of San Francisco history from the golden years of the Beat poets to the present day. (City Lights)

Scarlett Johansson will star in Sony’s new miniseries adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel The Custom of the Country; Johansson will play Undine Spragg, a young woman from the Midwest who struggles to navigate the New York City social world. (Los Angeles Times)