Stephen King on Teaching Writing, the Case Against Trigger Warnings, 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 best thing—maybe the only thing—is to tell the student that telling the truth is the most important thing, much more important than grammar.” Stephen King talks with the Atlantic about teaching writing and how to deal with everything from bad grammar to students who burst out crying in class.

Meanwhile, the American Association of University Professors issued a statement on Monday against the use of trigger warnings. The AAUP asserts that asking teachers to alert students that the course reading might upset them, or even elicit a post-traumatic stress disorder response, “makes comfort a higher priority than intellectual engagement,” and “singles out politically controversial topics like sex, race, class, capitalism, and colonialism for attention.” (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Digital publisher Vook has acquired Byliner, a publisher of digital longform fiction and nonfiction, as its first digital imprint. (Publishers Weekly)

Australian novelist Peter Carey has revealed that he refused to ghost the memoirs of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Carey explains: “Two control freaks? It wouldn’t work.” Assange eventually withdrew from the memoir, which Canongate published anyway in 2011 with Scottish novelist Andrew O’Hagan as the ghostwriter. (Guardian)

The American Booksellers Association will expand its campaign to support independent bookstories, Indies First, which was launched last year by Sherman Alexie. Independent booksellers can purchase discounted books from participating publishers and order free tote bags donated by Penguin in preparation for Small Business Saturday in November. (Publishers Weekly)

As part of its project to digitize its collection of 137 million objects and specimens, the Smithsonian has signed up thirty-four hundred volunteers to transcribe handwritten documents. Volunteers can visit the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center website and select items to transcribe, such as Jackson Pollock’s letters or a bumblebee catalog from the 1800s. (Wall Street Journal)

Actor James Franco will publish his book Hollywood Dreaming: Stories, Pictures, and Poems later this month with Insight Editions. (GalleyCat) An excerpt of the book can be read at USA Today.

At Slate, Matthew J. X. Malady considers his fingerprint words and how people spread their signature words and verbal tics to others.



Grammar Nazi

You may want to considering revising your punctuation in the byline. As is, it seems to suggest that, in addition to talking about how to teach writing, Stephen King is making a case against trigger warnings. "And more!"

Maybe semicolons would be useful here?