On Art and Selfishness, the Cat Person Story, 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:

“You make art because you think what you make is good, and good means that it’s good for other people, not necessarily pleasant or easy, but leading toward more truth or justice or awareness or reform.” At Literary Hub, Rebecca Solnit pushes back against the idea that making art is selfish or less useful than other forms of work.

Meanwhile, writer Patty Yumi Cottrell considers a similar question in an interview with the Creative Independent. “I think writing is an act of generosity and also selfishness at the same time.”

Megan Garber reads Kristen Roupenian’s New Yorker story, “Cat Person”—which went viral over the weekend and has since become a “literary adjunct to the latest #MeToo moment”—and considers the implications of people mistaking the story for an essay. (Atlantic)

Meanwhile, Roupenian talks with the New York Times about writing a story that reckons with gender and power, incorporating technology into the piece, and writing uncomfortable sex scenes: “I’m glad I kept my gaze steady on it and didn’t look away.”

“So I’m going to make a claim now that will probably get me kicked out of the Fraternity of Underappreciated Male Authors (FUMA) and blacklisted from the annual Christmas football game. Here goes: I think women are better novelists than men.” John Boyne makes his case at the Guardian.

Merriam-Webster has announced that the word of the year is feminism. Read an exclusive Q&A with Peter Sokolowski, the editor-at-large of the dictionary, about how the editors chose the word and what it says about the world today.

Publishers Weekly has released its preview of the big books of Spring 2018 in several categories, including poetry, fiction, memoir and biography, and essays and literary criticism.

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas has digitized and made available nearly half of Gabriel García Márquez’s archive, which includes more than 27,000 scans of the famed Colombian novelist’s drafts, letters, passports, notebooks, photographs, and other ephemera. (New York Times)