PEN Centers Unite, Most Anticipated Books of 2018, 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:

PEN America in New York City and PEN Center USA in Los Angeles are uniting forces to form one national organization, PEN America. “The timing of this union is no coincidence as we face potent challenges to free speech, press freedom, the right to dissent, and the open flow of information here in the United States,” the organizations said in a press release. “Never have the voices of writers and their allies been so essential.”

New titles from Helen DeWitt, Zadie Smith, Leslie Jamison, the late Denis Johnson, and many more: the Millions has released its preview of the most anticipated books of the first half of 2018.

For more new and noteworthy books published this month, check out the latest installment of Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin.

At the New Yorker, Jiayang Fan considers the charges that Deborah Smith, who translates the works of South Korean fiction writer Han Kang into English, takes too many liberties in her translations.

“The fact is that sensitivity reading is a band-aid over a hemorrhaging problem in our industry.” Dhonielle Clayton, a sensitivity reader and novelist, talks about misconceptions of sensitivity reading and diversity issues in the publishing world. (Vulture)

Craig Morgan Teicher considers the complete poems of A. R. Ammons, a poet who “made an aesthetic out of a kind of reticent fuddy-duddiness spiked with a whole bunch of other moods and modes, from mischief to randiness.” (Los Angeles Times)

“I am not a hit man. I’m someone who just found his way into this story of our time and just wanted to tell it as clearly as possible and with as much understanding as possible.” Michael Wolff, the author of Fire & Fury: Inside the Trump White House, talks with NPR about the process of writing the controversial book.

Meanwhile, Masha Gessen argues that the hubbub around Wolff’s book is yet another indicator that public understanding of reality and journalism is degrading. “That Fire and Fury can occupy so much of the public-conversation space degrades our sense of reality further, while creating the illusion of affirming it.” (New Yorker)

After the Brontë Society announced that supermodel Lily Cole would help lead the two-hundredth birthday celebration of Emily Brontë, Brontë biographer Nick Holland denounced the appointment as “rank farce” in a blog post. People rushed to Cole’s defense on Twitter, calling out Holland for being sexist and snobbish. (New York Times)