The Value of Literature, What Graphic Novels Can Do, 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 Los Angeles Review of Books has published a new translation of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s essay “Who Needs Literature?”, which was first published in 1963. In the essay Singer ponders whether new technologies—and the ever-expanding and accessible “sea of information”—might make it increasingly difficult for writers to retain the public’s interest.

Hillary Chute surveys the latest releases in graphic adaptations of literary classics, including Renee Nault’s version of The Handmaid’s Tale and Gareth Hinds’s interpretation of The Iliad. Noting that comics are often misunderstood as “easier renderings of a harder, worthier thing,” Chute makes the case that many artists are introducing new depth and complexity to the narratives of their source materials. (New York Times)  

Since its launch in 2010, Amazon Crossing, Amazon’s publishing imprint for works in translation, has become the most prolific publisher of translated literature in the United States. Editorial director Gabriella Page-Fort describes the imprint’s recent forays into nonfiction translation, as well as its strategies for acquiring new titles. (Publishers Weekly)

The Astro Poets, Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky, talk to the Washington Post about their new book and how they first become interested in the zodiac

Sophie Gilbert considers Margaret Atwood’s career and legacy. She traces Atwood’s political evolution from a writer who was initially skeptical that art bore a political responsibility, to a writer deeply invested in introducing complexity and new thought into social movements. (Atlantic)

Book Marks highlights fifteen queer debuts published in 2019, including Kimberly King Parsons’s story collection, Black Light, and Hugh Ryan’s nonfiction book, When Brooklyn Was Queer

In an interview at Forbes, Iris Blasi of the Carol Mann Agency offers insight on her interests and strategies as a literary agent.  

Susan Choi talks to the Millions about her latest novel, Trust Exercise, and wanting to let readers form their own impressions.