The Academy Responds to Nobel Controversy, Matthew Zapruder on Craft, and More


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.

Mats Malm, the head of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature, has defended the selection of Austrian writer Peter Handke as the 2019 laureate. Malm conceded Handke has made “provocative, unsuitable, and unclear comments in political questions,” but maintained he never glorified massacre. Handke has been criticized for his support of Slobodan Milošević and other Serbian leaders responsible for committing genocide in the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. (Reuters)

At the Paris Review Daily, Matthew Zapruder offers craft advice to poets. By analyzing his own early drafts, he identifies common pitfalls. “The poem is not an act of reportage, but an enactment of a relationship between consciousness and the world.” 

Molly Young, the literary critic for New York magazine, shares tips for interviewing artists, pitching to editors, and writing book reviews. (Creative Independent)

Stephanie Burt reviews three new titles by Andrea Long Chu, Cyrus Grace Dunham, and Lou Sullivan that all complicate the “unitary, easy-to-understand trans story.” (Atlantic)

Megan Lynch has been named publisher of Macmillan’s Flatiron Books, and will be leaving her current position as editorial director at Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins. (Publishers Weekly)

Brandon Bourgeois, a classics professor at the University of Southern California, is planning to retell the entirety of the Iliad in rap, a project he calls “Hype 4 Homer.” Rap may feel distinctly modern, but Bourgeois reminds USC News that Homer’s epic has a long and rich oral tradition. 

J. R. R. Tolkien’s family home from 1930 to 1947 is up for sale, listed at £4,575,000. Located in Oxford, the home includes the study where Tolkien worked on The Lord of the Rings. (BBC)

In more literary real estate news, Stephen King’s mansion in Bangor, Maine, is set to become a nonprofit that will house an archive of King’s work and host up to five visiting writers. (Rolling Stone)