The Kidney Letter Dispute, Alex Shephard’s Annual Nobel Prize Predictions, and More

by Staff
10.6.21

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.

For the New York Times Magazine, Robert Kolker investigates a yearslong and unusual dispute between two writers, Dawn Dorland and Sonya Larson. At the heart of the story is a kidney donation: After deciding to donate a kidney to a “donation chain,” Dorland wrote a letter to the unknown future recipient and shared it to a private Facebook group. Larson, who Dorland had added to the group, would use the kidney donation and letter as inspiration for a short story. Dorland has claimed Larson plagiarized the letter, while Larson has defended her story on the grounds of “transformative use,” among other arguments.   

Alex Shephard of the New Republic shares his annual predictions for the Nobel Prize for Literature, but reminds his readers, “you should never, under any circumstances, listen to what I have to say. I am not only not good at this, I am exceedingly bad.”

The in-person component of this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival, which also offered a slate of online events, took place this past Sunday. Approximately two hundred and fifty literary organizations set up shop at the outdoor Literary Marketplace. (Publishers Weekly)

The New York Public Library has given local readers a clean slate by forgiving all extant late fees and replacement fees. Going forward, the library has decided to eliminate late fees all together, however readers can still be charged for lost items.

In an interview with the Rumpus, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson recalls how an early writing class with Lauren Winner helped her commit to her craft: “It was the first time that I had someone who really gave so much attention in this way, line by line, sentence by sentence. Every single sentence mattered, and I really liked that.”

“I just want to talk to people about books—and people come in and they want to talk to me about books as well.” Aimee Ballinger, the owner of Burning House Books in Glasgow, offers a window into her life as a bookseller, reader, and writer. (Creative Independent)

The shortlist for the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s most valuable literary prize, has been revealed. The award includes a purse of $100,000 CAD. (CBC)

Laura Sackton celebrates twenty recent books by trans and genderqueer authors, including A Dream of a Woman by Casey Plett and Future Feeling by Joss Lake. (Book Riot)