Revisiting the American Dirt Saga, Novelist Eric Jerome Dickey Has Died, 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.

At Vulture, Lila Shapiro revisits the controversy surrounding the publication of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. Interviewing several employees at Macmillan, Shapiro explores the unique circumstances of the book’s path to publication.

Best-selling novelist Eric Jerome Dickey died on Sunday at age fifty-nine. Numerous writers paid tribute to the beloved author on social media, including Luvvie Ajayi Jones, who wrote, “Eric Jerome Dickey was a literary legend.” (People)

R. O. Kwon has compiled her fifth annual list previewing forthcoming books by women of color. “One day, publishing will be so inclusive that we’ll have no need for such a list. Today, plainly, is not that day.” (Electric Literature)

“I wrote it in 2015, and I wrote it in secret without telling anybody because I was afraid—I didn’t want to hear that it was impossible—so I just kept it to myself.” Michael Farris Smith talks to NPR about writing Nick, a prequel to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

“How did all these books manage to get into my house? Why do parts of this brick colonial resemble a Pennsylvania book barn or the stockroom at Politics and Prose?” Washington Post critic Michael Dirda takes stock of his personal library.

“Forty years later, this red-pilled malcontent calling for a theofascist revival seems something else entirely.” Tom Bissell reexamines the legacy of A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. (New Yorker)

“As a writer, I think you need to be obsessed with human behavior and dedicated to the truth of how people react to things.” Kiley Reid reflects on writing both quiet and explosive incidents of racism in her debut novel, Such a Fun Age. (Los Angeles Review of Books)

“It was interesting to figure out how you create chemistry on the page. It can be challenging.” Emily Hashimoto cites When Harry Met Sally and Adrienne Rich as two inspirations for her debut novel, A World Between. (Rumpus)