Pirates Release Judith Tebbutt, the Making of Edith Wharton, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

Judith Tebbutt, the wife of slain Faber & Faber executive David Tebbutt, was released after seven months held captive in Somalia. The Tebbutt's son paid the ransom and negotiated his mother's release through a private security company. Somali pirates kidnapped Mrs. Tebbutt when she and her husband were on vacation at a luxury resort on the Kenyan coast last September. Mr. Tebbutt was shot during the raid on their isolated resort. (BBC News)

Joan Didion has canceled an upcoming appearance in California due to a fractured knee. (Los Angeles Times)

Speaking with Fresh Air about his new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer touches on the link between depression and creativity. The author notes, "Sadness, although it is not fun and is not pleasant, it does sharpen the mind a little bit." (NPR)

The Paris Review Daily explores the unlikely friendship between Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (The two "fell out over a séance.")

Novelist Francine Prose writes of the making of Edith Wharton. (New York Review of Books)

Scrutinizing the writing of John McPhee, novelist Jon Michaud examines the art of the sentence. (Tin House)

Speaking with the Atlantic about tumultuous current events, Pulitzer-prize winning author Alice Walker says, "This is the time for poetry."

The current issue of Lapham’s Quarterly gathered a collection of complaints monks copying illuminated manuscripts wrote in the margins. "Oh, my hand." (Brain Pickings)