The Make Space Campaign, Poet in Portland Attack, 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:

PEN International has launched the Make Space Campaign, through which the organization’s 144 centers around the world will work to challenge stereotypes about refugees through publications, advocacy, and events. Two hundred writers and artists have voiced their support of the three-year campaign, including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Ai Weiwei, and Isabel Allende. “It’s very easy to create a sense of hatred when you talk numbers,” said Allende of the way refugees are often referred to in contemporary political discourse, “but when you see the faces of people, when you look at them in the eye one by one, then the whole thing changes, and that’s what art and literature can do.” (Guardian, PEN International)

Twenty-one-year-old poet and student Micah Fletcher has been released from the hospital after surviving an attack in Portland on Friday. Fletcher, along with Rick Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, was attempting to stop Jeremy Christian from harassing and yelling anti-Muslim slurs at two young women on a train, when Christian stabbed all three of them. Best and Namkai-Meche both died. (Oregonian)

In the latest installment of Dear Match Book, Nicole Lamy offers recommendations for books to read aloud, including Jamaica Kincaid’s novel Lucy, and Words in Air, the collected correspondence of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop. (New York Times)

A conversation between author Paul Beatty and Michael Cathcart at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in Australia on Friday sparked controversy when Cathcart, a white journalist, asked Beatty several questions many found racially tone-deaf and offensive. In quoting Beatty’s novel, Cathcart used the N-word twice, and later asked Beatty if people have to “learn what it means to be black.” (Guardian)

“Everything in the store feels just a little bit off, and you’re constantly reminded that you’re interacting with the physical manifestation of an Internet phenomenon.” Alex Shepard goes inside the new brick-and-mortar Amazon Books in New York City, which opened last week. (New Republic)

Meanwhile, Politics & Prose Bookstore will open a second location in Washington, D.C. in the fall. The new store will be housed at Union Hall, a food and artisan space. (Publishers Weekly)

In other bookselling news, writer James Patterson will renew and increase his Holiday Bookseller Bonus Program. Patterson will partner with the American Booksellers Association to give away $350,000 to individual booksellers this year. (Publishers Weekly)

Jennifer Egan recounts her experiences as an aspiring writer working as the private secretary to a countess in New York City. (New Yorker)