Publishing a Book in Trump’s First Year, the Contradictions of Philip Roth, 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:

“If anything, the current political moment—lurching historical surprises, the revisions to how we think of America, the collective effort to translate between people’s visible political actions and their unknown private frustrations—has made me more committed to the novel as a form, to its unique capacity to convey complicated truths about the world, and to bring comfort and solidarity.” Elif Batuman and ten other writers, including Carmen Maria Machado, Melissa Febos, and Celeste Ng, weigh in on what it’s been like to publish and promote a book in the year since Donald Trump was elected president. (Literary Hub)

Publishers Weekly considers the proliferation of bestseller lists and what counts as a bestseller.

Jonathan Soble profiles Min Jin Lee, whose historical novel about a Korean family living in Japan, Pachinko, is a finalist for the National Book Award. Lee spent more than twenty years working on the book, which addresses Japan’s historical discrimination and violence towards Korea. (New York Times)

“Like any writer worth paying attention to, Roth turns out to be the sum of his contradictions.” Adam Gopnik considers the work of Philip Roth and his recent book of collected nonfiction, Why Write?, which wrestles with how to “savor American history without sentimentalizing it.” (New Yorker)

Writers Maggie Stiefvater and Samantha Shannon, both authors of popular fantasy series, are speaking out against pirated e-books, which account for 17 percent of e-books read online. (Guardian)

The New York Times profiles Emily Wilson, the first woman to translate Homer’s Odyssey into English. Wilson’s translation comes out today from Norton.

“Fiction is not a lie, but a truth, a fundamental and necessary truth, that we need as much as we need food or sex. Without fiction, we poison ourselves on the lies of the first person.” Australian writer Richard Flanagan talks about fiction and his new novel about a ghostwriter, First Person. (Guardian)

The Review Review asks literary journal editors what publishing would look like in a perfect world.