Open Letter Calls for Change at Simon & Schuster, Analyzing Race and Education of Literary Prizewinners, 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.

An open letter from the “workforce of Simon & Schuster” calls on the publisher to sever ties with distribution client Post Hill Press, among other demands. Simon & Schuster came under scrutiny last week when Post Hill Press acquired a book by Jonathan Mattingly, one of the police officers involved in the murder of Breonna Taylor. While the company ultimately announced it would not distribute Mattingly’s book, it remains the distributor for other Post Hill titles. The letter also calls on Simon & Schuster to cancel its two-book deal with Mike Pence. (Literary Hub)

“We have noticed again and again stories about educational access where race and class overlap, stories that complicate any easy narrative of recognized merit.” Claire Grossman, Stephanie Young, and Juliana Spahr analyze how race and access to elite education affect the odds of winning a literary prize. (Public Books)

“We are the story created by the combined and fleeting stories, the interactions and decisions of others.” Entertainment Weekly has published an interview with the late Eric Jerome Dickey, who died in January at age fifty-nine. The author discussed his last novel, The Son of Mr. Suleman, which is out today.

“All these months, tucked away in the intense privacy of lockdown, I have begun to witness my body as a personal intimate lover. I do not always have to offer it to the world.” Ada Limón writes about how the pandemic has changed her understanding of her body. (Literary Hub)

“I felt grief so vividly, in this new way I had never experienced before.” Michelle Zauner, the author of Crying in H Mart, reflects on grieving her mother on the page and in music. (Washington Post)

Former California poet laureate Al Young has died at age eighty-one. Young suffered from the lingering effects of a stroke in February 2019. “He was one of the most gracious writers I ever met. People were drawn to his warmth and humor,” said poet Dana Gioia. (Book Haven)

Devi Pillai has been named president and publisher of Tom Doherty Associates. She succeeds Fritz Foy, who is retiring, closing out twenty-five years at Macmillan. (Publishers Lunch)

Lisa Jaffe interviews seven poets writing in the Seattle area, including Sharyn Skeeter, who advises, “Sometimes the best thing to do to honor the poem is simply to read it slowly and let the poem itself speak to you.” (Seattle Refined)

Poets & Writers Magazine recently published a literary city guide to Seattle written by E. J. Koh.