Obama’s Literary Presidency, Bernie’s Book Bank, 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 president has been an exemplary ambassador for literature, a leader who has championed reading as a way to open our eyes to the world, to nurture understanding, to see ourselves in others.” John McMurtrie reflects on the literary focus of Barack Obama’s presidency and considers what will change under the new administration. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Since establishing the Chicago-based literacy nonprofit Bernie’s Book Bank seven years ago, Brian Floriani has helped distribute approximately seven million books to at-risk youth in the Chicago area. (Chicago Tribune)

At Vox, National Book Award–winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates shares his perspective on American politics, as well as his personal frustrations as a writer, his favorite books, and his advice for young writers.

“One heartening trend countering the upsurge of xenophobia,” writes Vice editor R. O. Kwon, “is this year’s bonanza of English-language fiction published by writers of Asian descent.” Kwon celebrates a variety of Asian American fiction published in 2016, including Jade Chang’s The Wangs vs. The World and Karan Mahajan’s The Association of Small Bombs.

Nylon features an interview with fiction writer Tanwi Nandini Islam about the inspiration for her critically acclaimed debut novel, Bright Lines, and opening a fragrance business while writing the book.

In conjunction with the Library of Congress, United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera has selected poet Ray Gonzales for the 2017 Witter Bynner Fellowship. Gonzalez will receive $10,000. (EIN News)

Mexican poet, novelist, and playwright Carmen Boullosa discusses her 1989 novel, Antes, which was recently translated into English by Peter Bush as Before (2016) and published by Deep Vellum. (Guernica)