The Whiteness of Publishing, New Works in the Public Domain, 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.

“I’ve sat in weekly new business meetings across three of the five major publishing houses week in week out for decades, invariably surrounded by all-white teams.” U.K.-based literary agent Natalie Jerome writes about racism in the publishing industry and critiques the “sticking-plaster solution” of hiring sensitivity readers instead of ensuring the field of commissioning editors is diverse. (Guardian)

Smithsonian spotlights notable artistic works that entered the public domain with the new year, including The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes and Enough Rope by Dorothy Parker.

In March, Catapult will say farewell to one of its founding editors, Pat Strachan, who is retiring. Over the course of her career—which included stints at numerous publishing houses and the New YorkerStrachan edited such notable authors as Lydia Davis, Jamaica Kincaid, and Peter Orner. (Publishers Weekly)

“I suspected that my manuscript was becoming something other than a traditional collection, and then even more than a linked collection, about halfway through the process.” Sequoia Nagamatsu recalls the evolution of his first novel, How High We Go in the Dark. (Rumpus)

“If they don’t think my characters feel like real human beings, I decided that’s not my problem. I’m going to write toward what I want to read.” Jean Chen Ho, the author of Fiona and Jane, reflects on rejecting the white gaze. (Bomb)

“My happiest place…is just when I’m vomiting out sentences.” In a profile at the Los Angeles Times, Xochitl Gonzalez, the author of Olga Dies Dreaming, describes her path to the writing life.

“Poems and stories are only two sorts of lies, but they’re the ones I tell most often.” Steven Duong shares two writing prompts involving lies. (Don’t Write Alone)

The New York Times previews sixteen January titles, including Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang and Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo.