NBCC Members Recommend Reforms, Calling the World, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Thirty-one members of the National Book Critics Circle have signed an open letter to the institution’s board of directors and general membership to offer detailed recommendations for reform. Among their proposals, the group suggests creating an advisory board, establishing an income-based sliding scale for membership dues, and revising the organization’s voting systems. Newly elected board president David Varno acknowledged the letter in an e-mail to all members, writing: “The board will meet soon to discuss the suggestions and requests made in the letter as part of its ongoing work to modernize the bylaws and empower the Diversity & Inclusion committee into action.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Poetry Society of America and the creative nonprofit Saint Flashlight have collaborated on a new dial-a-poem project: Calling the World. Seeking to mitigate the isolation of living through a pandemic, the organizers invite readers to dial in and listen to archival recordings from poets around the world, including Anne Carson, Kwame Dawes, and Mahmoud Darwish. 

“Rooney, like her characters, seems content to perform awareness of inequality, even to exploit it as a device, but not to engage with it as a profound and messy reality.” Katy Waldman critiques Sally Rooney’s novels and Naoise Dolan’s Exciting Times for what she describes as their “reflexivity trap”—the idea that “professing awareness of a fault absolves you of that fault.” (New Yorker)

Black Book Designers, an online community space for Black and Brown book cover artists, has launched its first website. Dominique Jones, a cover designer at Dutton, founded the organization in July via Instagram. 

“I wished I was a vampire squid the most when I was the new girl in high school.” Aimee Nezhukumatathil references the vampire squid and the darkest depths of the ocean to talk about loneliness. (Paris Review Daily)

An interview with Nezhukumatathil appears in the current issue of Poets & Writers Magazine

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recommends new books by Southern writers, including Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi and A Measure of Belonging, a collection of essays by Southern writers of color, edited by Cinelle Barnes. 

Authors Melissa Faliveno, Raven Leilani, and Christina Hammonds Reed reflect on the logistics of publishing their debuts in the COVID-19 era. (Marketplace)

Submittable offers advice to writers and publishers on how to approach book marketing during the global pandemic.