The History of Banned Books, Whitman’s Empathy, 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:

Yesterday, President Obama presented the 2015 National Medals of Arts and National Medals of Humanities. Poet Louise Glück and fiction writer James McBride are among the writers who received National Humanities Medals. (NPR)

Thriller writer James Patterson has cancelled the release of his novel The Murder of Stephen King, stating that he did not want to cause Stephen King and his family “any discomfort.” The novel was initially due for publication in November as part of Patterson’s BookShots series. (Guardian)

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Michael Chabon shares the photos that inspired his anticipated novel Moonglow, which comes out November 22 from HarperCollins. (Entertainment Weekly)

Meanwhile, at Bust, Lidia Yuknavitch talks about her forthcoming novel, The Book of Joan, a contemporary reimagining of the story of Joan of Arc. Yuknavitch’s novel will be released in April 2017.

Looking ahead to Banned Books Week—which begins Monday, September 26—Amy Brady reflects on the history and present of book banning in America. (Literary Hub)

“Rather than succumbing to self-righteous demonization, Whitman illustrated the power of a human empathy that transcends ideological bellicosity.” Writer E. Thomas Finan returns to Walt Whitman’s 1865 collection of Civil War poetry, Drum-Taps, for hope and understanding in difficult times. (Millions

PEN America has released a detailed report on the Chinese government’s censorship of the foreign press, detailing stories of “foreign reporters and their local news assistants tailed, manhandled, jailed, and physically abused if they become associated with a critical story.”