Mapping Author Histories Through Faces, the Brontës’ Brilliance in Isolation, 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:

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, announced yesterday that the company plans to open additional brick-and-mortar stores, but did not disclose how many. Amazon opened its first physical bookstore in Seattle last November, and has confirmed plans to open a second store in San Diego this summer. (Shelf Awareness)

Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses his award-winning novel, The Sympathizer, as well as his family’s escape from Vietnam to the United States in 1975. (NPR)

Independent press Restless Books has tasked three authors—Chris Abani, Tash Aw, and Ruth Ozeki—with writing a short text about his or her own face. Each of the three books, which comprise a new series called The Face, explores familial histories and how different writers view ancestral lineage. At Public Books, Sharrona Pearl writes, “[The stories in The Face] are all stories of the personal past and the ancestral past, explorations into race and difference, examinations of a family resemblance, discussions of fitting in everywhere and nowhere at all.”

“In their retreat from society [they] found the autonomy to cultivate their altogether original voices.”Judith Shulevitz writes about how the Brontë sisters’ social isolation and domestic constraints were beneficial in developing their literary talents. (Atlantic)

Iconic best-selling children’s book series Nancy Drew Mystery Stories was tested as a pilot television series for CBS, but will not go forward with the network because “the pilot skewed too female for CBS’s schedule.” (Melville House)

Fiction writer Matthew Neill Null talks about his new short story collection, Allegheny Front, his relationship with West Virginia—“a landscape of ghosts more than one of the living”— and the many fraught interactions between humans and animals on which the collection hinges. (Electric Literature)

At Salon, five fiction writers—Allison Amend, Anton DiSclafani, Geoff Dyer, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Paula Whyman—talk about their new books, and share some surprising influences. Various influences for Sittenfeld’s Eligible include: “CrossFit, reality television, Skyline chili, Gloria Steinem, Silicon Valley, and Regency England. The usual!”