Mandela Diaries Snapped Up at Frankfurt, Naked Girls Reading, and More

Adrian Versteegh

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:

Former South African president Nelson Mandela’s private diaries have apparently been a hot commodity at this week’s Frankfurt Book Fair, with FSG chief Jonathan Galassi sweeping up the U.S. rights, and other deals being inked with publishers in the U.K., Europe, and South America (Bookseller). The upcoming book—scheduled for release in 2010—will reportedly be more intimate than Mandela’s earlier autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom (Little, Brown, 1994), featuring material drawn from the Nobel laureate’s personal archives (CBC).

Penguin India founder and current Penguin Canada president David Davidar has been appointed CEO of the publisher’s new international division, charged with expanding business in developing markets (Quill & Quire).

In what the participants are calling one of the most expansive collaborations of its kind, libraries at Cornell and Columbia are partnering to share collections, electronic resources, and acquisition strategies (Library Journal).

Barnes & Noble announced this week that it will shut down its fifty remaining B. Dalton bookstores—small outlets located primarily in shopping malls—by the end of January (Burlington Hawk Eye).

A nonprofit collective in New Zealand has announced plans to digitize more than a thousand of the country’s best-known books (PC World New Zealand).

Margaret Atwood, John Irving, Colson Whitehead, and dozens of other major writers are among the confirmed guests at the thirtieth annual International Festival of Authors, which kicks off next week in Toronto. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Booker Prize-winner Alice Munro says health concerns may keep the seventy-eight-year-old author from attending the event (Quill & Quire).

Given the comparatively lower cost of producing and distributing e-books, Britain’s Society of Authors says writers should be asking for a greater share of the proceeds (Bookseller).

Chicago-based burlesque troupe Naked Girls Reading will perform (that is, read once-banned books in the buff) at New York City’s Madame X tonight (Village Voice).