North Carolina Bookstores Speak Up, Sam Savage Retrospective, 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:

Following author Sherman Alexie’s cancellation of his North Carolina bookstore appearances to protest state law HB2—which prohibits transgender persons from using gender-specific bathrooms—the Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville has written an open letter calling on authors to keep their appearances in the state, as boycotts threaten to put financial strain on independent bookstores. Malaprop’s general manager Linda-Marie Barrett writes, “We sympathize with their stance, but we hope that authors will choose another way to protest. By protesting in this manner, targeting bookstores, they are directly hurting their fiercest allies. Please don’t abandon us; we need your support now more than ever.” (Shelf Awareness)

Numero Cinq magazine features Jeff Bursey’s retrospective of the work of novelist Sam Savage, who is currently in hospice. Of the retrospective Bursey writes, “The hope is to encourage people to entertain this thought: that not reading Sam’s novels (all published by Coffee House Press) is a missed opportunity, something you won’t know you would have missed unless you read him.” For more about Sam Savage’s life and work, read a profile of the author by Poets & Writers editor in chief Kevin Larimer.

At the New Yorker, Hilton Als profiles poet and essayist Maggie Nelson. “It’s Nelson’s articulation of her many selves—the poet who writes prose; the memoirist who considers the truth specious; the essayist whose books amount to a kind of fairy tale, in which the protagonist goes from darkness to light, and then falls in love with a singular knight—that makes her readers feel hopeful.”

“We languished in the expanse of that space and within the orbits of our own privileged literary lives. And yet it was within that space that I was once again reduced to a locus of servitude, as have so many black female bodies before me.” Poet and professor Ruth Ellen Kocher writes about attending the AWP conference as a black woman writer. (Entropy)

College slam poetry teams are not for the weak. The training is akin to boot camp, the rules exacting, and the national competitions are “like March Madness with a lot more crying.” (Wall Street Journal)

French feminist writer Violette Leduc was a protégé of Simone de Beauvoir, yet she is often left out of French feminist history. Writer Rafia Zakaria considers the reasons for Leduc’s marginalization: “De Beauvoir’s feminism, unleavened by any literal struggles with the whims of men, needs Leduc’s literary liberation to prove its practical application. Yet it is only de Beauvoir’s prescient and crisply analyzed feminism that we remember and celebrate. The lived feminism of Leduc—raw, passionate, and devastatingly honest—is what we choose to forget.” (Guardian)

Expand your literary world this April with Bookriot’s recommendations of fiction and poetry translations from Japan, Portugal, Cameroon, and Austria.