Stephen King Fans Support Maine’s Freelance Writers, Nikki Giovanni On Backbone, and More

by Staff

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.

“Stephen King sent me!” After 8,000 fans retweeted the Maine-based author’s objection to the Portland Press Herald’s decision to stop running freelance reviews of local books, the paper promised to reinstate the reviews—if a hundred of King’s followers purchased subscriptions to the newspaper. While King queried whether the paper’s response was a sales pitch or blackmail, readers met the target, and the reviews will be reinstated this week. 

“Somebody needs to open a grocery store selling backbones.” Poet, children’s author, and “queen mother of movements” Nikki Giovanni discusses our dire need for good people, better earthlings, and why she’s not going to heaven. (Los Angeles Review of Books)

National Geographic has declared El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires “the world’s most beautiful bookstore.” But NPR got there eighteen years earlier: “Where once the vast auditorium was filled with rows of theater seats, it now has rows of bookshelves,” wrote Bob Mondello about the shop in 2001. “The Gran Splendid has been converted into what is quite possibly the most spectacular bookstore on earth.”

At the New York Times, U.S. senator Kamala Harris talks about her new memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

According to Barnes & Noble’s seasonal sales data, American readers are focusing on mental health rather than the usual New Year’s resolution fare of diet and exercise books. The bookstore chain’s highest-selling mental health–themed book between December 16 and January 5 was Mark Manson’s 2016 self-help book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a...: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. (Los Angeles Times)

“I wonder if this zeitgeisty phenomenon—this attempt to define ourselves as the spent, frazzled generation—has become popular because white, upper-middle-class millennials aren’t accustomed to being tired all the time?” Poet Tiana Clark on Black burnout. (BuzzFeed) 

Read about Clark’s 2018 collection, I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood, in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets.” (Poets & Writers Magazine)

“I wanted to bring worthy language to the beauty of loving another boy in a society that hates gay people—but that doesn’t mean I have to hate myself.” Author Casey Gerald on refusing to write on “the margins of society” in There Will Be No Miracles Here. (Guardian)

Genre fiction is finding more space at independent bookstores. As McKenzie Workman at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, puts it, “If somebody is looking for something to read, isn’t it your job to put it in their hands?” (Publishers Weekly)