Shakespeare’s Coat-of-Arms Application, Author-Editor Relationship Drama, 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:

Folger Shakespeare Library curator Heather Wolfe recently unearthed a dozen new records detailing Shakespeare’s coat-of-arms application to the College of Arms, which indicate the Bard’s desire for upward mobility and social status. Wolfe notes that the documents “make abundantly clear that while Shakespeare was obtaining the arms on behalf of his father, it was really for his own status.” (Smithsonian)

“We have to bear witness and resist numbness.” Author Roxane Gay responds to the shooting of Alton B. Sterling, a thirty-seven-year-old black man killed by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday.

Scottish actress Louise Linton’s self-published memoir, which details a year she spent in Africa as a teenager, has drawn outrage on social media for apparent inaccuracies and clichéd depictions of life in Zambia. The controversy began after the Telegraph published an article by Linton promoting the book, titled, “How My Dream Gap Year in Africa Turned Into a Nightmare.” (Los Angeles Times)

“[Caribbean] literature is filled with stories that recount and lament what happens when one goes to seek fortune and family elsewhere.” Naomi Jackson, author of the novel The Star Side of Bird Hill, shares a selection of ten books that explore themes of exile and displacement. (American Scholar)

“Strangely, in isolation, the sentence makes perfect sense; it’s beautiful. Such sentences are the opposite of immigrants, they make more sense outside their native context. They make sense as islands unto themselves.” Poet Jennifer Tseng reflects on the significance of the letters her Chinese father wrote to her in English over the years. (Electric Literature)

Doubleday executive editor Gerald Howard discusses the recently released film Genius, which revolves around the relationship between hallowed editor Max Perkins and writer Thomas Wolfe, and how the editor-author relationship can be a source of drama. “The possibilities for disagreements and bruised feelings are endless, from an unreturned phone call to an editorial spat to an author’s sense that the house and the editor are insufficiently behind the work. Even the warmest and most durable partnerships can go south, much like a marriage.” (Chronicle Review)

Europa Editions is launching a scholarship program for U.S. booksellers to attend international book fairs, including the Frankfurt Book Fair and the London Book Fair. One scholarship per year will provide airfare, lodging, per diems, and fair entry. The inaugural scholarship will be offered for the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. (Shelf Awareness)