Repealing Walt Whitman, Ugandan Writer Arrested, 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 California group, Stop SB 48 is attempting to repeal a law that allows students to learn about the poet Walt Whitman, as well as other historical figures who were gay. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 48 into law this past July—known as the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, it adds the LGBT community to a list of ethnic and cultural groups discussed in textbooks. (LA Weekly)

After a recent exposé by the Allentown Morning Call following complaints to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over working conditions at a Pennsylvania fulfillment center, Amazon has said it will install air conditioning. (Shelf Awareness)

A Michigan Barnes & Noble is scheduled to close shop at the end of 2011. (State News)

This past Saturday in Uganda, police arrested writer Vincent Nzaramba on charges of inciting violence. Nzaramba authored a book, People Power – Battle the Mighty General, critical of Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni’s human rights record. Nzaramba said, "I was beaten up. I was flogged. They told me: 'Don't you know we can kill you?'". (BBC News)

The Missouri school board that banned Kurt Vonnegut's satirical novel Slaughterhouse-Five, as well as Sarah Ockler's young-adult book, Twenty Boy Summer, has restored both novels to the school's library. They cannot be assigned as class reading, but are "available to students for independent reading as long as they are kept in a secure section of the school library." (Reuters)

The folks at MediaBistro's eBookNewser have compiled a list of the five best Android apps for writing, in case pen and paper aren't handy.

Charles Dickens was born two hundred years ago (as of February 7, 2012), and to launch a year-long bicentennial celebration, the United Kingdom's Sunday Observer is publishing a poster-sized guide to Dickens's most memorable characters, from the Artful Dodger to Little Nell. (Guardian)

With the prevalence of listicles, bloggers posting unchecked facts, and news aggregators, the online journalism landscape has dramatically altered, and Good lists five reasons why that's bad.