Sheila Heti on Motherhood, Controversy in Oregon Over Children’s Novel, 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:

“But the older I get, the more I feel like it’s interesting and significant that we only get to be this one person. Life seems more tragic, and poignant, and sad, and exhilarating, and odd this way. I now feel like the limitation of life is the essence of a human life. It’s not a bug in the program that we’re stuck being ourselves.” Sheila Heti talks about life choices, the decision of whether or not to become a mother, and her new novel, Motherhood. (Los Angeles Review of Books)

A controversy has broken out in Oregon over the inclusion of George, a children’s novel about a transgender ten-year-old, in a popular reading competition for third- to fifth-graders. Several school districts have withdrawn from the competition, claiming the book is not age appropriate, since it alludes to masturbation and includes scenes of kids lying to their parents. Defenders argue the book is being excluded because its protagonist is transgender. (New York Times)

Controversy has also broken out in the romance writing community after writer Faleena Hopkins trademarked the use of the word cocky in romance book titles. Hopkins contacted other writers using the word in their titles insisting they change their titles or face legal action. Seventeen thousand people have signed a petition to the U.S. patent and trademark office to cancel Hopkins’s “cocky” trademark. (Guardian)

After nearly two hundred years in Manhattan, the Center for Fiction will move to Brooklyn in 2019. (Publishers Weekly)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is investigating allegations that Junot Díaz, who teaches at the university, bullied and sexually harassed women. (MassLive)

A new study from Skidmore College has sought to provide a definitive answer to the longstanding debate over how many spaces to put after a period. Researchers found that two spaces after a period makes a text more readable. (Open Culture)

From Whitney Scharer’s The Age of Light to Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Angel’s Game, Literary Hub rounds up books that sold for seven figures in the past decade.

Writer Patricia Lockwood and her mom comment on this year’s Met gala, which took place on Monday and was themed “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” (Cut)