Mike Daisey Controversy, Jeanette Winterson on Gender Bias, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

This past Friday, This American Life retracted its popular January episode featuring an excerpt from Mike Daisey's one-man show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. After an investigation by a Marketplace radio reporter, Daisey admitted he did not personally witness everything he claimed to have encountered on his trip to China. (Forbes)

On his website, Mike Daisey posted audio of a new prologue to his show, and stated, "I stand by my work. My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity." Entertainment Weekly has more on the controversy.

Meanwhile, due in large part to the success of Apple's iPad, it is now the richest corporation in America. The Wall Street Journal live blogged Apple's announcement this morning about what it intends to do with its cash.

The New York Times reports on new brain imaging studies that indicate how the human mind reacts to evocative words and fiction; "there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters."

Laura Miller looks behind the curtain to reveal how the Hunger Games franchise was launched. (Salon)

Novelist Jeanette Winterson speaks with critic Amy Benfer about her new novel Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? and the assumptions readers make based on an author's gender: "If Henry Miller writes Tropic of Cancer and calls the hero 'Henry Miller,' he’s still allowed to say these are novels, and none of the guys question it. Because a man is allowed to be bigger. A woman isn’t. She can only possibly talk about herself." (Salon)

Robert Silvers, the octogenarian editor of the venerable New York Review of Books has no plans to retire, and no clear successor. However, the New York Times speculates who may be in contention for the editorship.

Today is novelist Philip Roth's birthday, and to celebrate, Vol. 1 Brooklyn collected photos of the author "chilling out."

And if you need help chilling out to write, a Spanish company has created OmmWriter Dana, intended as "a beautiful writing environment that helps you concentrate and create."