Mobile African Poetry, Harper Lee’s Reclusiveness, 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 task of balancing the awareness of past success with the necessary task of producing new work is not one that every writer can achieve.” Yesterday’s announcement that Harper Lee will publish a second novel fifty-five years after the incredibly successful To Kill a Mockingbird has caused some to question the author’s decision. Philip Hensher explores the reasons behind Lee’s choice not to publish another novel for so long at the Telegraph.

The Badilisha Poetry X-Change, which is the world’s largest online African poetry archive, is now accessible via mobile phone. The archive features weekly additions of African poets, and includes biographies, poem texts, as well as audio and video of the poets reading their works. “I don't think the importance of an archive like this can be overstated. It is the first ‘living archive’ focusing solely on poets from Africa and the diaspora,” said Cape Town–based poet Toni Stuart. (CNN)

Members of ISIS broke into the Central Library in Mosul, Iraq, and destroyed over 3,000 books that the militants claimed “promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah.” The Islamic State group destroyed many books of poetry, philosophy, and children’s literature in the library, and left only Islamic texts. (Boston Globe)

The search is on to find a biographer for late author Doris Lessing. Lessing, who wrote over fifty books including the celebrated feminist work The Golden Notebook, stated in her will that the biographer should “be given full access to all my literary estate (including my diaries) for the purpose only of writing my biography.” Lessing’s family members, however, do not have access to her diaries. (Guardian)

When did we learn to read with our hearts instead of our brains? At the New Yorker, Joshua Rothman discusses Deidre Shauna Lynch’s book Loving Literature: A Cultural History.

Of all the books published in the United States every year, only around 3 percent are translations. At the Daily Beast, Bill Morris examines the complexities as to why many Americans do not read foreign fiction.

Beginning this Thursday, the Guardian will offer a literary e-newsletter called Bookmarks, which will feature the publication’s book reviews, podcasts, and more.

E-tailer Amazon has opened its first-ever staffed pickup location on the Purdue University campus in Indiana. Purdue, the University of California in Davis, and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst have cobranded online stores with Amazon.