Maggie Nelson Searches for a Different Game, Abdoh and Jafarian Deconstruct America’s Mythology of the War in Afghanistan, 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.

Ismail Muhammad profiles Maggie Nelson for the New York Times Magazine and observes the author’s instinct to seek out alternative points of view. “The horse race of hope and fear has never seemed more important to resign from,” Nelson says. “We’ve got to get on a different field and play a different game.”

At Guernica, novelist Salar Abdoh and journalist Mohammad Hossein Jafarian discuss the situation in Afghanistan and deconstruct America’s mythologies about the war. “One big problem with the West is exactly this: They want to reduce notions of freedom and democracy into conveniently packaged platitudes,” says Jafarian.

Publishing executive Erika Seyfried has died at age thirty-six. She went missing while on a walk with her dog on Sunday and was found dead the next day; the death appears to have been accidental, according to police. Seyfried was vice president and director of digital strategy and consumer engagement at Penguin Random House. In a statement, the company wrote: “Erika was the embodiment of what we all hope for in a colleague, and friend.” (Publishers Weekly)

“I think the narrative of the telenovela is so ingrained in my head that whatever I write comes out as a telenovela.” María Amparo Escandón reflects on bringing the dramatic reality of Los Angeles to life in her latest novel, L.A. Weather. (Los Angeles Times)

The program for the fall season of National Book Foundation Presents has been unveiled. The calendar includes virtual, hybrid, and in-person events and features Hanif Abdurraqib, Rumaan Alam, and Jacqueline Woodson, among other distinguished authors.

Sophie Stein recommends books that represent “the clashes inherent in everyday work environments,” including Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid and There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura. (Electric Literature)

In personnel news, Pantheon has hired Naomi Gibbs, who most recently worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, to serve as an executive editor. (Publishers Lunch)

Critic Bethanne Patrick recommends ten books forthcoming this month, including Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead and Bewilderment by Richard Powers. (Washington Post)


Editor’s note: There will be no Daily News tomorrow, September 3, and Monday, September 6. Coverage will resume September 7.