The Artistry of Rebecca Hall’s Passing Adaption, R. O. Kwon on Christianity and Abortion Rights, 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.

Richard Brody of the New Yorker praises the artistry of Rebecca Hall’s film adaption of Passing by Nella Larsen. “The film’s sense of style is more than mere ornament; it embodies the confrontation with circumstances—practical, emotional, historical—at the heart of the story.”

“As a former Christian who once believed abortions to be evil, and who is now convinced of the opposite, I have found heartbreaking, as so many have, the arguments about the Texas antiabortion law.” R. O. Kwon writes about how she came to believe in the right to abortion access. (Vanity Fair)

Sylvère Lotringer, the founder of Semiotext(e), a highly regarded independent publisher of theory and literature, died on November 8 at age eighty-three. “He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, ex-students, and many collaborators,” wrote Semiotext(e) managing editor Hedi El Kholti. (ARTnews)

The longlist for this year’s Aspen Words Literary Prize, which honors fiction that “illuminates a vital contemporary issue,” has been revealed. The sixteen titles include The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and Bewilderment by Richard Powers. Administered by the Aspen Institute, the prize comes with a purse of $35,000. (Publishers Weekly)

After a passage from Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous appeared in a standardized exam in New South Wales, Australia, numerous students reached out to the author directly to complain about the difficulty of the text. On Instagram, Vuong shared some of the messages, adding his own lighthearted replies. He also wrote a note of encouragement: “For what it’s worth, I didn’t get into ‘uni’ either out of high school. I went to a local community college where I did some of my best learning.” (Guardian)

Desiree Ibekwe of the New York Times checks in with Zadie Smith ahead of the opening of the author’s first play, The Wife of Willesden. “Doing this is really, genuinely new,” says Smith.

The staff at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, have compiled a list of their favorite fiction books of the year. Among their recommendations are Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters and Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So.

Ngaio of the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas, is retiring from her role as a bookstore cat, closing out over ten years of service. She will be moving to a bookseller’s home for some peace and quiet.