Rare Book Theft, Northern Nigerian Women Writers, 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 rare bookseller’s van, filled with approximately four hundred books worth more than $350,000, was recently stolen outside of his friend’s home in Oakland, California. One suspect has been arrested, but the man’s van has yet to be found. (SFGate)

Women in Northern Nigeria face gender-based violence and censorship, and live in an area targeted by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Despite these dangers, some Northern Nigerian women risk it all to write and publish novels. Photographer Glenna Gordon has captured the women’s stories in a photo book titled Diagram of the Heart. Some of the novels are about fantasy romances—such as escaping one’s current situation with a rich man—while others explore more serious issues facing women, including arranged marriages, domestic violence, and human trafficking. (New York Times)

“Her writings on both U.S. and Irish cultural history open up personal realms for the poet to dive into. Whether that writing is properly poetic or expository, verse or prose, her scholarship is the work of an artist.” At the Los Angeles Review of Books, author and editor Jonathan Creasy considers two new collections of essays by poet and literary critic Susan Howe.

This morning, the L.A. Times Book Prizes announced that U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will receive the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, and best-selling author James Patterson will receive the Innovator’s Award for his work “to inspire a lifelong love of reading in children and his support of independent bookstores nationwide.” Five finalists in ten categories were also announced this morning; the winners will be named at a ceremony on April 9. (Los Angeles Times)

Over at the PEN America blog, novelist Rick Moody recommends five “experimental” books by women that “rethink the conventions of form.”

Looking for new reads? Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program has shared some exciting new authors to watch for this spring.

In Iran, forty media outlets have coordinated to raise $600,000 to add to the fatwa on writer Salman Rushdie, twenty-seven years after the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for the author’s assassination following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses. Khomeini declared the novel blasphemous against Islam in 1989, and the fatwa was never officially lifted. (Guardian)

A book written by a Canadian serial killer was removed from Amazon’s website yesterday following a petition signed by more than fifty thousand people on Change.org. Outskirts Press, which published the murderer’s memoir, issued an apology to the victims’ families, and the Canadian authorities promised to “introduce a law to prevent offenders from profiting from their crimes.” (NBC News)