Racial Inequity in Publishing, Ismail Muhammad on Mourning Through Music, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

“Imagine if employees could be paid a living wage from the very beginning of their careers. The pool of people who could afford to work in publishing would expand enormously.” Maris Kreizman writes on the causes of racial inequity in the publishing industry. (Los Angeles Times)

“The sonic landscape that Coltrane conjures on the track suggests something about the temporality in which Black grief lives, the way that Black people are forced to grieve our dead so often that the work of grieving never ends.” Ismail Muhammad writes on listening to John Coltrane’s “Alabama” and refusing “tidy Freudian mourning.” (Paris Review Daily)  

The Guardian reports on #BlackoutBestsellerList, a social media campaign organized by Amistad that encourages readers to buy books by Black authors. “I don’t think we’ll see change instantly, but I think with each conversation, we’re getting closer and closer to shifting the needle,” says novelist Kosoko Jackson. 

Michael Roberts has been appointed interim executive director of the Center for Fiction. He succeeds Noreen Tomassi, who is retiring after sixteen years at the helm of the organization. Roberts has previously served as the executive director of PEN American Center and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. (Publishers Lunch)

“I want to be a Southern writer writing about the South from the South.” Tayari Jones talks to Vogue about the success of An American Marriage and hints at what’s coming next.   

“It has in fact become hard to separate in my mind the things I imagined from the things that transpired.” Jennifer Acker reflects on when her novel, The Limits of the World, appeared to prophesize her reality. (Millions)

“The summer I graduated from college my mother, Akiko, gave me a journal that she had started writing when I was born.” The novelist Sanaë Lemoine finds love and understanding while reading her mother’s journal. (Guernica)

Wayne Koestenbaum discusses his ideal reading experience, guilty pleasures, and “inner filth.” (New York Times)

And the Daily Shout-Out goes to BookBar in Denver for its innovative use of QR codes to facilitate social-distancing shopping. By scanning QR codes on the store’s windows, local readers can find specific books in the display and place their order on BookBar’s website.