Top British and Irish Novelists, Cowardice in Publishing, and More


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 Times Literary Supplement asked more than two hundred critics, academics, and fiction writers for a list of the top ten British and Irish novelists working today. Ali Smith and Hilary Mantel top the list, followed by Zadie Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Eimear McBride.

Drue Heinz, who helped fund the Paris Review and start the publishing imprint Ecco, has died at age 103. (New York Times)

“I can publish a story about murder, or cancer, or cutting off my arm to save my life, but I can’t publish about how I metaphorically cut off parts of myself in order to survive sexual abuse.” Tracy Strauss writes about “cowardice in publishing” and about how several agents refused to take her on because her memoir dealt with incest. (Publishers Weekly)

Garrison Keillor announced that he wants to bring back his show “The Writer’s Almanac” and go back on tour for “A Prairie Home Companion.” Minnesota Public Radio fired Keillor in November after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. (Los Angeles Times)

“I’ve gleaned from other autofiction writers that we often share one thing in common: lots of us feel an unexplained revulsion toward ‘fiction’ or the feeling that we’re ‘making something up.’ It’s not something we can explain—the moment we feel like we’re making something up, we feel disgust.” Writer Anelise Chen talks about autofiction, her literary influences, and growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Michael Dirda rounds up recent notable translations of Greek and Latin classics and meditates on the enduring relevance of literature from antiquity. (Washington Post)

Speaking of classics, Open Culture spotlights the “Bankes Homer,” the most well-preserved specimen of a portion of The Iliad, which is now digitized and viewable online.

Kate Dwyer considers the many Twitter accounts that impersonate writers such as Kerouac, Shakespeare, and Murakami, and whether some of the accounts, often run by bots, stray too far from the writer’s voice. (Paris Review)

Michelle Dean talks with the Rumpus about researching and writing her forthcoming book, Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion, about women critics such as Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, Dorothy Parker, and Nora Ephron.