The Year in Book Publishing, How to Write Epiphany, 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.

At the New York Times, John Williams recaps the year in book publishing news. Among the headlines: The death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement prompted an industry-wide reckoning with racism; the pandemic devastated independent bookstores; and Penguin Random House struck a deal with ViacomCBS to purchase Simon & Schuster. 

“In writing, with skill and attention, we can sometimes evoke a singular moment of clarity—a manifestation, a shining forth of pure being, a transcendence of life’s nondescript cotton wool—for our readers.” Randon Billings Noble shares notes on the high-wire act of delivering an epiphany in nonfiction. (Literary Hub/Creative Nonfiction)

Barnes & Noble founder Len Riggio and his wife, Louise, have donated $250,000 to Poets & Writers. “We are deeply grateful to Len and Louise for their generous gift, which will allow us to develop new programming and reach more writers,” said executive director Melissa Ford Gradel. Poets & Writers intends to use the donation to fund initiatives that support Black and marginalized writers. (Publishers Weekly)

“Tell me the exact point where the distance collapses and everything blurs, for a moment, before something new comes into focus.” Analyzing scenes from the film Love & Basketball, poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib meditates on the intimacy of the sport. (Paris Review Daily) 

“I was terrified to lose him not just in death but to lose my memories of him. So I began writing things down.” Poet Cheryl Boyce-Taylor recalls writing in the wake of her son’s death. (Chicago Review of Books)

Six acclaimed science fiction writers, including Nnedi Okorafor and Alastair Reynolds, each describe their approach to world-building. (Guardian)

Christine Hume, the author of Saturation Project, recommends nine literary works that undertake “the epic task of feminist re-mythologizing.” (Electric Literature)

Sue Rainsford, the author of Follow Me to Ground, answers the Book Marks Questionnaire