Secret Libraries of History, Free Books for London Prisoners, 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:

Soon, every prisoner in London will be given a free book to read while in custody. The “Books in Nicks” program will provide a selection of more than thirty classic novels to prisoners in the city; Each book will also contain advertisements for free educational courses and instructions on how to register for them. (London Evening Standard)

“Bishop may have wanted her poems to be read by future generations in light of the secrets that, in life, she kept so carefully hidden.” Writer Heather Treseler considers poet Elizabeth Bishop’s recently discovered personal correspondence with her therapist. (Boston Review

This week, Norton released Keith Houston’s The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time. Flavorwire features seven images from the work that illuminate the physical history of the book and its evolution over time.

Meanwhile, an article at BBC Culture explores the “secret libraries of history” where books have been hidden and protected for centuries, from Damascus to Cairo.

At Button Poetry, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib interviews poet Ocean Vuong about his acclaimed debut collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, and the relationship with history in his work.

Random House has acquired a collection of personal essays by comedian and actor Bob Odenkirk. In a statement, Odenkirk described the forthcoming book as a “a comic ‘bildungsroman,’ if you will—defined by Webster’s Dictionary as ‘a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character’—except this will be more memoir and the main character, Bob Odenkirk (actor, writer, comedian, gadabout), doesn’t grow morally or psychologically.” Odenkirk is also developing an AMC miniseries based on Night of the Gun, a memoir by late New York Times columnist David Carr. (New York Times) recommends five novels written by comic book creators, along with a suggested comic work by each author.