Robin Desser to Depart Random House, the Literature and Film of Absent Mothers, 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.

Robin Desser has announced she will depart Random House in the spring. The senior vice president and editor in chief of the storied imprint, Desser joined the team in 2020 after periods at Vintage and Knopf. “Making this decision wasn’t easy, given my love for this place,” she said. “But I’m happily looking forward to exploring new adventures—and staying connected by working on some select editorial projects.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The mother who abandons her children haunts our family narratives. She is made into a lurid tabloid figure, an exotic exception to the common deadbeat father.” Amanda Hess considers literature and film about absent mothers. (New York Times)

Writer Teresa Mathew recounts her search for Indian grocery stores—and a sense of home—in New York City. She calls her mother in California, who reflects on how going to an Indian grocer is about more than finding the right products: “You think of recipes you wouldn’t normally think of because the ingredients are all around you. It’s a place to connect with previous experiences.” (Margins)

The Millions spotlights nearly two hundred books publishing in the first half of 2022. January titles include The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan and The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang.

Sam Jordison of the Guardian writes about the enduring influence of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron on the thirtieth anniversary of its publication.

“The nineties are back, as if they could ever truly peace out.” Henry Hoke, the author of Sticker, recommends books by queer authors that are steeped in the culture of the nineties. (Electric Literature)

“It’s a novel about how to live with your environment rather than against it.” Maxim Loskutoff, the author of Ruthie Ware, reflects on how to repair the relationship between humans and the natural world. (Bomb)

Emily Temple of Literary Hub collects fifty-nine covers of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, which was first published in England exactly fifty-nine years ago.