Tolkien Lawsuit, Unfilmable Books, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

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:

The estate of J. R. R. Tolkien has filed an eighty million dollar lawsuit against Warner charging promotions for the Lord of the Rings films, including online slot machines, are copyright violations. (Deadline)

In other film news, with Ang Lee's adaptation of Yann Martel's Life of Pi in theaters at midnight tonight, NPR looks at difficulties of making "unfilmable" books into good movies.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports filmmaker Michael Maren recently assembled a huge cast of writers to fill tables at a Brooklyn coffee shop for a scene in his upcoming film, A Short History of Decay, including Gary Shteyngart, Jean Hanff Korelitz, Jennifer Egan, Roxana Robinson, Philip Gourevitch, Michael Cunningham, Nick Flynn, and many others.

In the wake of the news of Philip Roth's retirement, Jason Diamond considers what the novelist's exit means for Jewish fiction. (New York Observer)

"Write the scene knowing that everything, always, can be fractured, broken, dissolved." Author and writing instructor Emily Rapp shares thoughts on Thanksgiving. (Role/Reboot)

Author Andrew Shaffer shines a light on Tim Ferriss's claim that his new book, 4-Hour Chef, is "the most banned book in United States history." (Huffington Post)

From the new book, Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, Slate features a missive from Vonnegut to novelist Richard Gehman, who'd just accepted a job at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop: “Don’t ball undergraduates! Their parents are still watching!”

Critic Dwight Garner picks his favorite books of 2012 (for the bathroom). (New York Times)