President Obama Interviews Marilynne Robinson, Amazon Invests $10 Million in Translation Imprint, 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:

The current issue of the New York Review of Books features a conversation between president Barack Obama and novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson, in which the two discuss the “broader cultural forces that shape our democracy and shape our ideas, and shape how we feel about citizenship and the direction that the country should be going in.”

Amazon Publishing’s literary translation imprint, AmazonCrossing, has announced a $10 million investment “to increase the number and diversity of its books in translation.” The investment will go towards translator fees and increasing the countries and languages represented on AmazonCrossing over the next five years. The imprint has also opened a new website, through which authors, editors, and publishers can submit proposals for books in translation. (Business Wire)

Meanwhile, HarperCollins announced the launch of a new line from its William Morrow imprint called Custom House, a “curated line of thought-provoking nonfiction and distinguished literary fiction,” with inaugural titles to be published in 2016. Some of Custom House’s upcoming publications include best-selling author James Andrew Miller’s oral history of the CAA talent agency, and PEN/Faulkner finalist T. Geronimo Johnson’s next novel.

Novelist Joshua Cohen has begun his project of reinterpreting Charles Dickens’s first serialized novel, The Pickwick Papers, live online. Visitors to the website can watch Cohen write the novel interpretation in real time until Friday, and can discuss progress with the author and offer feedback in a chat room. (Guardian)    

The totalitarian nature of the Internet, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, and the cultural evolution of East Germany are just some of the topics covered in Rachel Kushner’s New York Times magazine profile of novelist Jonathan Franzen.

According to the Guardian, Brazenhead Books—a “speakeasy” bookstore run out of a New York City apartment—may be reopening. Owner Michael Seidenberg closed the shop in July when he was evicted from his apartment, but has since moved and is in the process of rebuilding the business.

Speaking of literary apartments, NPR’s Corey Flintoff discusses his visit to the St. Petersburg apartment of twentieth-century Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, and how her experiences during the Russian Revolution “gave her a new artistic purpose: to be a witness to history.”

Say it out loud: According to a study conducted by digital audiobook retailer Audible, “Don Quixote” tops the list of mispronounced literary names. (Telegraph)