Shakespeare in Mandarin, Newly Discovered Jack Kerouac Letters, 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:

The British government will donate £1.5 million (approximately $2.44 million) to the Royal Shakespeare Company to translate all of Shakespeare’s work into Mandarin for the first time. The company will also tour China in 2016 and translate select Chinese dramatic works into English. (New York Times)

In November, auction house Skinner will auction off seventeen newly found letters written by Jack Kerouac. The letters date back to 1939 and are written to Kerouac’s childhood friend George J. Apostolos. (Los Angeles Times)

“If the very important secret is not solved, then readers will be frustrated. That is not what I want. But if a certain kind of secret stays secret, it’s a very sound curiosity. I think readers need it.” At the Guardian, Steven Poole interviews Haruki Murakami about the importance of mystery in a novel, his latest book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, and about being the ugly duckling of the Japanese literary world.

The National Book Foundation has announced the longlist for its 2014 award in poetry; it includes heavyweights Louise Glück, Edward Hirsch, and Mark Strand. (Washington Post) Read more at the Grants & Awards blog.

To help prevent the illegal download of its digital content, HarperCollins will add digital watermarks to their e-books. The publisher will use the watermarks to identify Internet retailers with inadequate security. (Publishers Weekly)

The organizers of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, which will take place in October in Bali, have dropped Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul from the program, claiming that the writer asked for a $20,000 appearance fee at the last minute. Naipaul’s agent responded that the writer had not formally agreed to appear at the festival and had a scheduling conflict. (Guardian)

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that bookstore sales fell 5.1 percent in July, a smaller decline than reported for most months of 2014. (Publishers Weekly)

Crime writer James Patterson and his publisher Little, Brown, have donated one hundred eighty thousand of Patterson’s hardcover books to the U.S. armed forces; Patterson has already donated five hundred thousand books to soldiers. (USA Today)