Make America Read Again, Kirsten Dunst Directs The Bell Jar Film, 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:

Actress Kirsten Dunst is set to direct an adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s 1963 novel The Bell Jar. The film will star Dakota Fanning as protagonist Esther Greenwood. Dunst cowrote the screenplay with Nellie Kim; shooting is scheduled to begin early next year. (Guardian)

Cleveland librarian John Harris is attending the Republican National Convention this week in a quest to “Make America Read Again.” Harris has been handing out books to protesters and supporters alike, in his self-assigned role as “book propagator.” (Bustle)

The Czech Republic has the densest library network in the world, with ten times as many libraries as the United States. (New York Times)

“All of my female [characters] are independent and never settled into a conventional relationship.” Scottish author Jenni Fagan discusses her second novel, The Sunlight Pilgrims. (Signature)

German novelist Oliver Pötzsch is the first author published by Amazon’s literary press, Amazon Publishing, to sell more than a million copies. At the New York Times, Pötzsch discusses the international success of his series of novels, The Hangman’s Daughter, and the challenges of writing books across different genres.

This year’s anthology of the Caine Prize for African Writing, The Daily Assortment of Astonishing Things and Other Stories, features work from writers including Helen Oyeyemi, Okwiri Oduor, and 2016 Caine Prize winner Lidudumalingani. A review of the anthology at the Spectator notes a new focus on the anxieties of globalization on the African continent.

If you are looking for a DIY home project, take a page from this book lover and transform your staircase into the spines of your favorite tomes. (Huffington Post)