Sneak Peek at Zadie Smith's New Novel, Taliban Poetry, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

According to his brother, author Gabriel Garcia Marquez is suffering from dementia, and has ceased writing. (BBC)

The Wall Street Journal reports E. L. James's Fifty Shades trilogy will reach twenty million copies sold in the United States this week (combined print and e-book). The first book in the series was released in March.

Researchers in Afghanistan have gathered a collection of poetry written by Taliban fighters. The book, Poetry of the Taliban, was published in the United Kingdom this year, and will be released by Columbia University Press in the United States this month. Co-editor Felix Kuehn says he understands it may offend many, "But we think it's a way to see how they see the world." (Los Angeles Times)

"Notice how in their litanies of supposedly frivolous subjects…these critics blithely dismiss matters of concern to a great many women." Anna Holmes explores the criticism of Lena Dunham's HBO series Girls, and Sheila Heti’s new novel How Should a Person Be? (New Yorker)

The Millions features an exclusive look at the beginning lines of Zadie Smith's next book, NW.

Speaking with friends of Nora Ephron—such as Deborah Copaken Kogan, Meg Ryan, and Meryl Streep—James Atlas discusses the full life of the late author and filmmaker. (Newsweek)

Following a long line of stories about New York City's famed borough, the Guardian details how Brooklyn became a welcome habitat for writers. (Note: Holt published Evan Hughes's Literary Brooklyn in 2011.)

As background to the Guardian story, author Alexander Chee offers his insight.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of William Faulkner this past Friday, Open Culture posted the audio of Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

Meanwhile, the New Republic pulled Faulkner's first published work from its archive, a poem, “L’Après-midi d'un Faune,” which appeared in the August 6, 1919 issue of the magazine.