The Decline of the Mass-Market Paperback, Drag Queen Story Hour, 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:

Una LaMarche attends Drag Queen Story Hour, hosted by Harmonica Sunbeam, at a branch of the New York Public Library. Launched by writer Michelle Tea and Radar Productions, Drag Queen Story Hour brings drag queens to libraries in New York and San Francisco to read stories to kids. (New York Times)

“I still think we treat authors who write stories about women or girls as people who owe us a referendum or polemic on feminism. I just want characters that feel complicated in the way all humans are complicated, who don’t have to teach anyone anything or stand for anything beyond the world of the story itself.” Fiction writer Emma Cline talks with the Guardian about writing her novel, The Girls

“He was obsessed with the idea of the poet’s responsibility—his duty to write in a way that not only was beautiful and true but also offered sustenance.” Adam Kirsch considers the life of Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, and how his experiences under both Communist and Nazi regimes shaped his vision of poetry’s purpose. (New Yorker)

Fifty years ago, Gabriel García Márquez went from being a relatively obscure Colombian writer to an international literary superstar with the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude. (Atlantic)

Writers and artists remember writer Jean Stein, who died last month, and her legendary parties frequented by figures such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Andy Warhol, Norman Mailer, Jasper Johns, and the Rolling Stones. (New York Times)

Publishers Weekly considers the fate of the mass-market paperback and whether its waning popularity—sales reportedly fell 30 percent from 2012 to 2015—is due to fewer distribution options, publishers offering cheaper e-books, and bookstores limiting shelf space.

Anne R. Dick, who was married to writer Philip K. Dick from 1959 to 1965, has died at age ninety. She was said to have inspired many of her husband’s most influential books, including The Man in the High Castle, and also wrote a memoir about their marriage that was published in 1995. (New York Times)

The Amazon juggernaut continues: the e-tailer has filed permits to open a brick-and-mortar store in Los Angeles in the Century City mall. (Los Angeles Times)