Mavis Gallant's Embezzling Agent Jacques Chambrun, Real-life Anastasia Steele, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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 twenty-seven year old Australian, Hannah Kent, has sold the North American rights to her first novel, Burial Rites, to Little, Brown, in a seven-figure two-book deal. Picador will publish the book in Australia, and rights have also been sold in France, Italy, Brazil, and the Netherlands. (Publishers Weekly)

In other deal news, Penguin’s Gotham imprint will publish British journalist Sophie Morgan's Diary of a Submissive: A Modern True Tale of Sexual Awakening, billed as a "real-life Anastasia Steele," the central character from mega-bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. (GalleyCat)

Meanwhile, HarperCollins announced yesterday author Neil Gaiman has contracted to write five books for kids—three middle-grade books, and two picture books. (Los Angeles Times)

Author Emily Rapp writes of life with her young son, Ronan, who has Tay-Sachs disease: "The language of the breaking mind is odd, needy, grabby, unpredictable, but it is language, and I had too much." (Salon)

Farhad Manjoo explains why Amazon stopped battling states over the payment of sales-tax, and how its plans to offer same-day delivery could mean the death of local retail. (Slate)

The online writing network She Writes has launched a publishing shingle, She Writes Press. Founder Kamy Wicoff says, “It’s for writers searching for a model that actually makes sense in a radically changed publishing landscape.” (paidContent)

The New Yorker reveals the sordid history of 1940s literary agent Jacques Chambrun, who represented W. Somerset Maugham, Ben Hecht, Mavis Gallant, Zora Neale Hurston, Aldous Huxley, and H. G. Wells, among others, and possessed a "penchant for pinstripe suits and stealing his clients’ money."

Comedy Central host Daniel Tosh made inflammatory comments about rape to a female heckler at a Laugh Factory performance in Los Angeles Friday night—Elissa Bassist weighs in on the issue for the Daily Beast; and Roxanne Gay contributes her thoughts for Salon.

Alexander Naxaryan reviews The Sonnets by William Shakespeare—a new multimedia iPad app from Touch Press. He writes, "It’s so good, that I entirely forgot to update my Facebook status." (Touch Press released an app for T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” last year.) (New York Daily News)