Open Letter Advocates for the Emerging Voices Fellowship, Macmillan Moves Forward, 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.

A group of writers, editors, and former recipients of the PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship have issued an open letter critiquing the foundation’s recent decision to suspend the fellowship program for 2021. The signatories call for “accountability and answers for PEN America’s failure to protect this indispensable program,” and call for the reopening of the program in time for a 2023 cohort. On Saturday, PEN America leadership responded to the letter and announced that a recent new commitment from a donor would ensure the “current Emerging Voices hiatus will be a limited one.” (Publishers Weekly)

Publishers Weekly reports on the ongoing reaction to last week’s surprise news that John Sargent would depart his role as CEO of Macmillan due to “disagreements regarding the direction” of the company. The details of the disagreements remain unspecified. 

At the New York Times, Alexandra Alter profiles Penguin Random House U.S. CEO Madeline McIntosh, and explores how the company has managed to weather a tumultuous year. “It did feel like every hour and every day was bringing more bad news and more uncertainty related to the supply chain and retail,” says McIntosh, who is a member of the board of directors of Poets & Writers, Inc. 

“Reading Cole and Corral side by side, you find, everywhere, poems about the periodicity of desire, its alternating flights and crashes, in both private and political spaces.” Dan Chiasson reviews new poetry collections from Henri Cole and Eduardo C. Corral. (New Yorker)

Writer and translator Niloufar Talebi has curated a list of one hundred books by Iranian writers, which will be shared in installments at the Margins. “I embarked on this list with an assumption of scarcity. But during the research process, I discovered an embarrassment of riches.” 

“Our eyes met now, and her tentative, vulnerable expression surprised me. I fought the urge to look away and spare us a discomfort I assumed we were both feeling.” The novelist Ayad Akhtar writes about a surprising conversation about love and freedom with his mother. (New York Times)

“I am hopeful that representations of asexuality will move beyond 101.” Angela Chen, the author of Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex, reflects on the value of diverse representation. (Electric Literature)

“When I first started writing that book, this whole vast comic book, superhero explosion that we’ve lived through—none of that had happened yet.” Michael Chabon talks to Entertainment Weekly about adapting his Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, for television