Michelle Obama’s Memoir Out Today, Stan Lee Has Died, 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.

Michelle Obama’s highly anticipated memoir, Becoming, is officially out today from Crown. At NPR, the former first lady reads from the memoir, which has racked up more preorders than any other adult book since Harper Lee’s 2015 Go Set a Watchman, and is on track to become the biggest book of the year. (Washington Post)

And for even more of a signal boost, Oprah has chosen Becoming as her next book club pick. “This book is everything you wanted to know and so much you didn’t even know you wanted to know,” Winfrey said. “It’s so well-written I can hear her voice; I can hear her expressions; I can feel her emotion. What she allows us to see is how she was able to discover, define and then refine her voice.” (USA Today)

Stan Lee, the legendary writer, editor, and publisher of Marvel Comics, has died. Lee, who got his start in the comics business in 1939 and created or co-created Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, and countless other characters, died on Monday morning in Los Angeles. He was 95. (Hollywood Reporter)

Kirkus Reviews has released its Best Fiction of 2018 lists. In literary fiction, the titles include Naima Coster’s debut novel, Halsey Street (Little A) and Lauren Groff’s story collection, Florida (Riverhead). The best books in nonfiction and children’s literature will be announced later this year.

At the New Yorker, Katy Waldman considers Amazon’s new original series of stories about climate change (which includes work by Lauren Groff, Jane Smiley, and Jess Walter, among others) and how climate fiction, or “cli-fi,” forces us to consider the impending death of the planet.

J. K. Rowling is suing a former personal assistant for more than $30,000 for allegedly using the author’s credit card to make purchases for herself—including candles, makeup, and two cats—as well as stealing cash and Harry Potter memorabilia. (Los Angeles Times)

The Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, announced a major upgrade and expansion made possible by a $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The developments will help protect historic collections at the existing museum and allow for the purchase of an adjacent property that will open more of the poet’s homestead to visitors.

In a new audio series, Twain’s Feast, actor Nick Offerman explores political, cultural, and ecological shifts through Mark Twain’s favorite foods. Offerman, a longtime fan of Twain’s work, has recorded audiobook versions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. (New York Times)