Roxane Gay to Helm New Website, Stephen King on the Future of Books, and More

by
Staff
10.1.14

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:

Roxane Gay, author of the novel Untamed State and the essay collection Bad Feminist, will be heading up a new website starting this month. The Butter, a sister site to The Toast—a website cofounded by Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg—will publish cultural criticism and personal essays. Gay says she'll be making a "concerted effort" to publish people of color and queer writers on the new site. (NPR)

After taking some heat about not paying the opening acts on her book tour, actress and author Lena Dunham announced on Twitter that all the opening performers on her tour will now be compensated. Dunham’s essay collection, Not That Kind of Girl, was published yesterday, and the nationwide tour kicked off in New York City. (Gawker)

Banned Books Week has come and gone, but censorship keeps on going. Vanity Fair reports that John Green’s best-selling young adult novel, The Fault in Our Stars, has been banned in the middle schools within California’s Riverside Unified School District. A parent in the district complained that the novel’s “morbid plot, crude language, and sexual content was inappropriate for her children.”

Philip Weinstein, an author and scholar who has published works about writers such as Faulkner, Proust, and Kafka, plans to pen a book about Jonathan Franzen. Weinstein tells the New York Times that rather than a traditional biography, the book will examine how turmoil in the author’s life has shaped his work. “It doesn’t pretend to be a full-scale biography,” Weinstein says. “It’s too early for that. He’s in full career mode. Someone later, a generation from now, will do that biography. It’s a report on who he is.” Bloomsbury will publish Jonathan Franzen: The Comedy of Rage in Fall 2015.

A blogger is reimagining modern-day pop songs as Shakespearean sonnets. Some of the songs that have been remixed on the Pop Sonnets blog include Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” A new pop sonnet is posted each Thursday. (GalleyCat)

A collection of Ray Bradbury’s books, art, rare science fiction ephemera, and other personal belongings was auctioned last week for nearly a half-million dollars. The biggest-ticket item was a piece of original artwork for the cover of The Illustrated Man by Dean Ellis, which sold for $45,894. (Los Angeles Times)

“There’s a deeply implanted desire and understanding and wanting of books and needing of books…. It’s a deeper well of human experience.” Stephen King talked to the Huffington Post this morning about his upcoming film, A Good Marriage, as well as the importance and permanence of physical books and the future of the publishing industry.

Comments

TFIOS

Wow, very interesting that a school banned John Green's TFIOS.  Although it is a YA book which means it is not intended for middle schoolers, but kids at least fourteen years old.  A lot of the YA I read has very adult language and themes and I wonder if it is appropriate for my 13-year-old.  But instead of banning the book, how about reading it with them and then discussing the topics?  TFIOS isn't about cancer and death, but the way people treat other people who are sick or dying, tiptoeing around them like they are contagious or already dead.  Reading can open up so many lines of communication.  I just hate to see that shut down. 

TFIOS

Wow, very interesting that a school banned John Green's TFIOS.  Although it is a YA book which means it is not intended for middle schoolers, but kids at least fourteen years old.  A lot of the YA I read has very adult language and themes and I wonder if it is appropriate for my 13-year-old.  But instead of banning the book, how about reading it with them and then discussing the topics?  TFIOS isn't about cancer and death, but the way people treat other people who are sick or dying, tiptoeing around them like they are contagious or already dead.  Reading can open up so many lines of communication.  I just hate to see that shut down.