The Stature of Wole Soyinka, How American Agents Are Approaching the Frankfurt Book Fair, and More

by Staff

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 profiles Wole Soyinka ahead of the publication of his latest novel, Chronicles From the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, and notes his stature as both an author and political figure. “I haven’t put my finger on it completely. But something has given in this nation,” says Soyinka of the present state of his home country, Nigeria. “Something has derailed.”

Although the organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair intend to move forward with both in-person and digital programming, Publishers Weekly reports that many American publishing professionals are choosing to stay home and will conduct business remotely. Some agents are also adapting how they approach the hustle and bustle of the fair: “We are being really economical about our meetings because we know everyone has Zoom fatigue,” says Melissa White of Folio Literary Management. The in-person program is set to open on October 20.

Sari Botton interviews Michael Seidlinger for the first installment of her new column, How’s the Writing Going? The column’s conversations will be focused around “the question no writer wants to be asked” and hold space for the discussion of the creative struggle. “I always battle with the realization that the stuff I write doesn’t need to exist,” says Seidlinger. (Don’t Write Alone)

“If you learn something new out of reading one of my stories, all the better. It’s not my intention to teach or preach. I just want the page to be visual, whether it’s the color of the room or the emotions of the characters.” Trisha R. Thomas, the author of What Passes as Love, discusses the art of historical fiction. (Rumpus)

“I don’t want to read India as written for its diaspora—the longing for an imagined homeland—or India written for a colonial imaginary, which, in my experience, often shows up on the page as the same kind of longing.” Richa Kaul Padte recommends seven women authors “who write India as it feels” and defy stereotypes. (Electric Literature)

“In life, we all eventually come to meet with a strange individual who can’t be contained by reality, as it were, but informs us of astounding things.” Vladimir Sorokin reflects on his short story “Red Pyramid,” which recently appeared in the New Yorker, and the availability of the mind to hear truth.

A number of the theatrical productions honored at this year’s Tony Awards were inspired by or based on literary works. (Shelf Awareness)

The winner of this year’s White Review Short Story Prize, which includes £2,500, editorial feedback, and publication in the White Review, is “The Chicken” by RZ Baschir. (Literary Hub)