National Novel Writing Month, Lena Dunham Cancels Book Tour Dates, 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:

Calling all aspiring novelists: National Novel Writing Month has begun! Here are 110 novel-writing tips to help get you started. Participants in the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) work toward the goal of producing a 50,000-word novel by November 30. (GalleyCat)

Actress Lena Dunham has canceled two dates on her European book tour to promote her new memoir, Not That Kind of Girl. The cancelations in Belgium and Germany follow controversial allegations that a passage in Dunham’s memoir suggests that she sexually abused her younger sister. Dunham has responded to the claims, calling them “upsetting and disgusting,” but has not disclosed specific reasons for her tour date cancelations.  (ContactMusic)

At Publishers Weekly, Kent Carroll considers the challenges facing small presses in producing a bestseller. Carroll is the publisher of independent press Europa Editions. 

“There is nothing really lost in reading a poem. If you don’t understand the poem, you lose little time or energy. On the contrary, there is potentially much to gain—a new thought, an old thought seen anew, or simply a moment separated from all the other highly structured moments of your time.” At the Atlantic, Mark Yakich provides a step-by-step guide to reading poetry, dispelling such myths that poems are inaccessible “locked safes.”

Nearing the end of his life as he battles Leukemia, Australian author Clive James finds solace in continuing to write and publish poetry. James has been a celebrated figure in Britain for many years, and has written multiple memoirs, film and literary criticism, novels, poems, biographies, and travelogues. “The voices who speak to me now, here at the ending of my life, are mainly poets,” he tells the New York Times.

On Friday, the Random House Building in New York City filled with nearly 200 publishing industry members for a memorial service honoring Oscar Dystel, former head of Bantam Books. Dystel was a key figure in making mass-market paperbacks central to the industry in the 1950s, and thus made books more widely available to the American public than they had ever been before. The “undisputed champion of paperback publishing” died in May at the age of 101. (Publishers Weekly)

From a publisher’s memorial to a poet’s: The Guardian’s poem of the week is Welsh poet Vernon Watkins’s elegy to his poet friend Dylan Thomas. Originally published in 1959, Carol Rumens discusses “Three Harps” as a tribute to Thomas during the centenary of his birth.


National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo has been trending all weekend on Twitter, from as early as six in the morning!  This community is the part I love most about the tradition.  It is wonderful to know so many other writers are out there, working on their craft as hard as you are! Janelle