Maya Angelou Documentary, Shirley Jackson’s Revival, 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:

The trailer for the upcoming Maya Angelou documentary, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, has been released. The film, set for release on October 14, features interviews with prominent figures including Oprah Winfrey and current presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (Deadline)

Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Than Nguyen writes about the ongoing debate over cultural appropriation, the larger questions it raises for writers and the public, and suggests ways to move past extremism. “First, recognize the history of economic appropriation that makes possible cultural appropriation…. Second, engage in careful and curious conversation with people different from ourselves, both in terms of demographics and ideas.” (Los Angeles Times

With yesterday’s release of Ruth Franklin’s biography, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, Jackson, an underrated suspense novelist during her lifetime, is experiencing a revival. (New Republic)

Fiction writer and editor Lincoln Michel considers the “singular weirdness” of Stephen King, and his influence on making popular culture, from television shows to best-selling novels, “weird” again. (Vice)

Michael Chabon, whose ninth novel Moonglow will be released in November, writes for GQ about taking his son Abraham to Paris Fashion Week. “I took my son to Paris Fashion Week, and all I got was a profound understanding of who he is, what he wants to do with his life, and how it feels to watch a grown man stride down a runway wearing shaggy yellow Muppet pants.”

At the Rumpus, fiction writer Anuk Arudpragasm discusses his debut novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, which “condenses the twenty-six years of the Sri Lankan civil war into an intimate human story, told over the course of a day and a night.”

To better understand and improve Google’s conversational style, Google researchers have been using sets of language data from more than eleven thousand novels published online. The authors of these novels, however, were not asked permission to have their work used in this research. The Authors Guild has condemned Google for “blatantly commercial use of expressive authorship.” (Guardian)