The Fifty Best Memoirs, Colson Whitehead on Injustice, 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.

The New York Times’s book critics recommend the fifty best memoirs of the past fifty years—including Vivian Gornick’s Fierce Attachments, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, and Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped—and reveal the process behind creating the list. Bustle, meanwhile, suggests twenty-one new memoirs to inspire you this summer, including What Do We Need Men For? by E. Jean Carroll and We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib.

“The further I got into the book, the more depressed and angry I got about going to the place, until I would only go there if I had a can of kerosene and a match.” Colson Whitehead talks about reckoning with injustice and researching the reform school that inspired the setting of his new novel, The Nickel Boys. (TIME)

From Angie Thomas’s young adult novel The Hate U Give to Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s novel Little Boy, the Washington Post recommends one hundred books—one for every age.

Novelist Joe Hill is returning to his first love: comics. Hill will oversee a new horror line at DC, Hill House Comics, which will include The Low, Low Woods, a limited series written by Carmen Maria Machado and illustrated by Dani. (Entertainment Weekly)

“When I started writing about the subject, TV was considered a junk medium that had to prove its worth. As I’ve been writing about it, it’s drifted closer and closer to the center of the culture.” Television critic Emily Nussbaum on watching an art form change. (Paris Review)

“Understanding oneself is a personal matter, but being able to see oneself reflected in the world helps.” At the Atlantic, Spencer Kornhaber considers the LGBTQ parades, riots, and internal revolutions commemorated in a new anthology of writings from before, during, and after Stonewall.

In Japan, master calligrapher Kaoru Akagawa is using a calligraphy style called kana shodo to resurrect the forgotten characters of a Japanese script used by women for nearly a millennium to write letters, literature, and the world’s first novel. (Guardian)