Seamus Heaney’s Last Translation, Perseus Explores a Sale, 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:

Seamus Heaney’s translation of Book VI of Virgil’s epic poem the Aeneid—which Heaney was working on at the time of his death in 2013—will be published next March in the United Kingdom by Faber. Farrar, Straus and Giroux will release the U.S. version. (Bookseller)

Fans of author Neil Gaiman, who is known for his science fiction and fantasy books, might be surprised to learn that Gaiman’s 1984 debut book is about none other than the pop group Duran Duran. For a limited time, readers who donate to the Comic Book Defense Fund via Humble Bundle can download an e-book version of Duran Duran, along with other rare writings by Gaiman. (Los Angeles Times)

Did Thomas Pynchon publish a novel in April and did no one notice? Art Winslow speculates that a 540-page novel entitled Cow Country, published under the pseudonym Adrian Jones Pearson, is actually the work of Pynchon. (Harpers)

Independent publisher Perseus Books Group has hired an outside investment firm to advise in a possible sale of the company. The news follows Perseus’s planned sale to Hachette Book Group nearly a year ago, which ultimately collapsed. (Shelf Awareness)

With Banned Books Week (the annual nationwide celebration of children’s freedom to read) coming up in just a couple weeks, Jackie Sims—a parent of a high schooler in Knoxville, Tennessee—is calling on Knox County schools to ban Rebecca Skloot’s acclaimed biography of Henrietta Lacks. Sims considers parts of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks—including a passage where Lacks finds a cancer tumor in her cervix—to be “pornographic.” Skloot responded on her Facebook page: “Just in time for ‪#‎BannedBooksWeek, a parent in Tennessee has confused gynecology with pornography.… My book is many things: It’s a story of race and medicine, bioethics, science illiteracy, the importance of education and equality and science and so much more. But it is not anything resembling pornography.” (Guardian)

Independent press Melville House will publish the U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality as a book on October 27. This release marks the third time this year that Melville House will publish books of public documents: The press previously released The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture and Pope Francis’s Encyclical on Climate Change & Inequality. (GalleyCat)

Is the male literary drunkard—think Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Berryman—unfairly glamorized? At the New Republic, Michelle Dean considers how women writers who drink have been perceived throughout literary history: “Male writers get careful interpretation of the role of alcohol in their creative lives; women writers are alcoholics, pure and simple.”