Matilda Stares Down Trump, Anne Lamott Offers Notes on Hope, and More

by Staff

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:

A statue of Donald Trump being stared down by Roald Dahl’s character Matilda has been unveiled near the late author’s Buckinghamshire home in South East England. The statues mark the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Dahl’s beloved children’s book Matilda, in which the title character famously stands up to her cruel headmistress Miss Trunchbull. “Matilda demonstrates that it’s possible for anyone, no matter how small and powerless they feel, to defeat the Trunchbulls in their own lives—a message that feels more relevant today than it did thirty years ago,” says Bernie Hall of The Roald Dahl Story Company. (Telegraph)

Jean-Claude Arnault, the man at the center of a sexual abuse and financial misconduct scandal that forced the postponement of this year’s Nobel prize in literature, was convicted of rape on Monday and sentenced to two years in prison. (PBS NewsHour)

“She writes what she, as a reader, would want to encounter, and right now, in 2018, she wants someone to tell her not to give up hope.” Hannah Pritchett profiles Anne Lamott, whose new book, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope, will be published by Riverhead Books later this month. (Publishers Weekly)

“Knausgaard’s creation, for all its vastness and despite its serious intellectual aims and attainments, reduces the entire world to the size of the author.” Daniel Mendelsohn considers Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume autobiographical novel, My Struggle—all 3,600 pages of it. (New York Times)

“I enjoy seeing the humor in things,” says novelist and essayist Ben Fountain. “I think it’s a valid way to look at politics, I mean, so much of it is absurd and dumb and just so nakedly careerist and self-aggrandizing, that you just have to laugh at these people sometimes.” Malcolm Gladwell interviews Fountain about his new essay collection, Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution. (Guardian)

“We cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access reassurance.” Matt Grant defends his massive stockpile of unread books. (Book Riot)