Prison Literary Journal, the Smell of Old Books, 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:

A preservation expert at Columbia University and his students are collaborating with the Morgan Library—the famed rare-book collection of financier Pierpont Morgan—to investigate the truth behind the beloved smell of old books. The group is using a glass bell to capture the scent of a book, which will then be analyzed at a perfume lab. (New York Times)

Vice has published excerpts of the Pen-City Writers, a literary journal of stories written by inmates at the John B. Connally Unit, a maximum-security prison in southern Texas. The inmates wrote the stories in a workshop led by fiction writer Deb Olin Unferth, who is developing the workshop into a two-year certificate writing program.

The Guardian profiles the London-based collective Naked Boys Reading, which hosts literary salons where men read naked.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks with NPR about her new book, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, which comes out tomorrow from Random House and adapts a letter Adichie wrote to her friend about how to raise her daughter as a feminist.

Writer and children’s book author Paula Fox died last Wednesday at age ninety-three. Fox was known for her novels Poor George and Desperate Characters. (Washington Post)

Ursula K. Le Guin answers twenty questions about her favorite books, whether Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series is overrated, and her favorite field in California. (Times Literary Supplement)

“But I try to adhere to the facts as I know them, even when I think they don’t matter…. I’ve been driven deeper into questions because of that imperative toward veracity….” Essayist Eula Biss discusses how “facts can be a complicated endeavor.” (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Jim Milliot looks back on the achievements of publisher HarperCollins, which celebrates its two-hundredth anniversary this year. (Publishers Weekly)