Medication and Creativity, Literary James Comey, 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:

Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo died last Sunday in Marrakesh, Morocco, at age eighty-six. Goytisolo wrote “experimental, linguistically audacious novels and stories [that] savaged his country’s conservatism, both religious and sexual.” (New York Times)

British writer Naomi Alderman has won the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for her sci-fi novel The Power. The annual £30,000 prize is given for a book of fiction written by a woman from anywhere in the world and published in the previous year. (Poets & Writers)

“It can feel tautly Hemingway-esque...” At Slate, Katy Waldman offers a literary read of the prepared testimony former FBI director James Comey is delivering to the Senate Intelligence Committee today about whether Trump and Russia colluded to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

“I try not to think of all the moments of joy I lost during that time, or the thousands of words I could not write, all because of my fear that medication would kill my creative muse.” Novelist Julia Fierro writes about how Zoloft helped her end an eight-year writing drought. (New York Times)

“If you believe in and love the work, you feel like you can’t neglect it or it’ll fade into obscurity and eventually die. And you don’t want something you love to die, do you?” Novelist Gabe Habash talks with the Paris Review about his debut novel, Stephen Florida, and how he revises and deals with rejection. Read more of Habash’s thoughts on writing in the latest installment of the Poets & Writers Writers Recommend series.

Penguin Random House has acquired the literary apparel company Out of Print, which produces clothing featuring classic book covers and original designs. (Publishers Weekly)

Donna Kikkert, a fifty-nine-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point, has sued her poetry professor, Patricia Dyjak, for giving her an F in the class. Kikkert claims the grade was “capricious retaliation” for requesting Dyjak teach more classic poetry. Kikkert asked the court to make Dyjak give her an A and be suspended without pay for a year or be fired; the court has since dismissed the case. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

“Birds provide endlessly useful metaphors for writers: they are somehow universally beloved, mythologized, studied, and imagined by humanity.” At the Ploughshares blog, Bianca Lech examines literature’s fascination with birds.