Sue Landers to Depart Lambda Literary, Petra Mayer of NPR Has Died, and More

by Staff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

Sue Landers has announced that she will resign from her post as executive director of Lambda Literary, a national nonprofit that champions LGBTQ writers and literature. “I am grateful to have led Lambda during a time of historic change,” she reflected. Maxwell Scales and Cleopatra Acquaye-Reynolds have been appointed to serve together as interim executive directors. (Shelf Awareness)

NPR books editor Petra Mayer has died unexpectedly at age forty-six. The cause is reported to be a pulmonary embolism. “Petra was NPR through and through,” wrote senior vice president for news Nancy Barnes. “To say that Petra will be missed simply seems inadequate.” In the wake of her death, colleagues and the wider literary community have paid tribute to Mayer’s passion, heart, and nerdiness.

Writer and artist Etel Adnan died on Sunday at age ninety-six. Adnan, who was born in Lebanon and went on to live in both the United States and France, earned acclaim for both her writing and visual art. “Etel Adnan inspired all of those fortunate to have met her in person,” said Mary Sabbatino of Galerie Lelong & Co., which represents Adnan. “She taught us how important memory is without nostalgia.” (ARTnews)

The literary community has also lost author Lee Maracle, who died last week at age seventy-one. Maracle penned Indigenous narratives in multiple genres and was outspoken about Canada’s violence against Indigenous people. “She was one of the voices that helped herald the reckoning and was ceaseless in her commitment to that,” said fellow Indigenous author Daniel Justice. (New York Times)

“Withholding paid leave from new parents can be lethal. The United States has one of the highest maternal death rates among developed countries. More than half of those maternal deaths occur after the birth.” Author Bess Kalb expresses the urgency of providing paid parental leave by sharing her own experiences with pregnancy and childbirth. (New York Times)

Rachel Deahl explores how the world of ghostwriting has evolved, noting that the industry now often refers to the practice as collaboration. “Back in the day no one wanted to say they used a collaborator or ghostwriter, and now it’s totally respected,” says literary agent Gail Ross.

Chen Chen, Jireh Deng, Jefferson Lee, Sadia Quraeshi Shepard, and Jemimah Wei discuss the art of flash fiction and its place within the Asian American community. “The reason why I think that Asian American writers (and writers of color in general) particularly thrive in the blend of genres like flash fiction is because we’re living compressed histories,” says Deng. (Literary Hub)

Gillian Brockell of the Washington Post looks at six historical episodes of book burning.