Return of Serial Novels, Judy Blume Opens Bookstore, 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:

Julian Fellowes, creator of the acclaimed television series Downton Abbey, has written a new novel titled Belgravia. The novel launches this week as a serial app, which features eleven “episodes” of text and audio released weekly. In the digital age where seemingly unlimited amounts of text can be published immediately, Fellowes’s experiment to publish his novel as a serial app is a throwback to the narrative tension and suspense of serialized storytelling. As Megan Garber writes at the Atlantic, “Digital capabilities, in theory, obviate the need for episodic storytelling. Yet, by way of digital capabilities, that form of storytelling is flourishing.”

At Guernica, Alex McElroy interviews poet, fiction writer, artist, and activist John Keene about transforming history through art, creating positive environments and writing workshops for LGBTQ communities and people of color, and his new story collection, Counternarratives, which “chart[s] a nearly five-hundred-year course through political and literary history, recuperating along the way the fragmented voices of the disenfranchised.”

Best-selling author Judy Blume talks to Publishers Weekly about her new occupation as a bookseller; The novelist cofounded the independent bookstore Books & Books two months ago in Key West, Florida with her husband, George Cooper.

Gabriel Synder, editor in chief of the New Republic, is leaving the magazine after seventeen months in the position. His departure follows the recent sale of the magazine to Win McCormack, the founder of Tin House. (Capital New York)

In an interview at the Guardian, Belarusian writer and 2015 Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich discusses the legacy of Chernobyl thirty years later and how writing is giving words to people “who are never heard.” Alexievich is working on two books—one about love, the other about growing old: “Civilization has given us an extra twenty to thirty years of life. We’re rather unprepared for this. We don’t have a philosophy of later life, before our final disappearance into darkness.”

The shortlist for the 2016 Man Booker International Prize has been announced. Each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000, and the winning author and translator will each receive £25,000. Visit the Grants & Awards Blog for details.

 “I knew that in order for this to be successful in the way that I wanted it to be—as a work of interior fiction, looking into this character’s motivations—then it had to work as it was purporting. Everything had to add up. There [were] endless amounts of refinement.” At Vulture, graphic novelist Daniel Clowes discusses the five-year process of completing his newest book, Patience, which was released in March.

Indie poetry press Alice James Books has released an app that allows users to listen to audiobooks, read new titles from the publisher, purchase books, and sign up for a backlist subscription service. (GalleyCat)