Trump Renews Proposal to Eliminate NEA and NEH, Neil Gaiman’s Charity Challenge, 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:

President Trump has released his budget recommendation for fiscal year 2018, which renews his earlier push to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). William D. Adams, the NEH chairman, resigned yesterday, though he did not directly cite the budget proposal as his reason for leaving. Read more about the ongoing threat to the NEA and NEH. (Publishers Weekly, Poets & Writers Magazine)

Author Neil Gaiman has agreed to read aloud the entire Cheesecake Factory menu if his fans raise $500,000 for the U.N. Refugee Agency. Comedian and author Sara Benincasa came up with the idea after watching the recent TV adaptation of Gaiman’s novel American Gods. (Los Angeles Times)

To commemorate the bicentennial of Henry David Thoreau’s birth, the U.S. Postal Service released a Forever stamp featuring the American transcendentalist yesterday.

“Writing in Nigeria at the beginning of a new period of independence, Achebe believed that the writer’s contribution was to give his or her people a usable past, to recover their dignity in the face of a colonial culture that deprived them, in moments like these, of a decent self-respect.” Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah considers the legacy of Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. (New York Review of Books)

Last week the Library of Congress made twenty-five million records from its catalog available for free public download. The records include books, serials, music, manuscripts, maps, and visual materials from 1968 to 2014. (Fortune)

Indian actor and parliament member Paresh Rawal sparked controversy when he tweeted that the author Arundhati Roy should be tied to an army Jeep. Rawal was responding to a story that claimed Roy gave an interview where she criticized the Indian government for its actions in Kashmir, a region that India and Pakistan have fought over for decades. The story was in fact false—it was posted by a fake-news site and Roy has since stated that she has not made recent comments about Kashmir. (Wire)

Lowell Jaeger has been appointed the new Montana state poet laureate. Jaeger will succeed Michael Earl Craig, and will devote part of his two-year term to holding poetry events as part of his “Poetry 101” project. (Daily Inter Lake)

Christian Lorentzen, a self-confessed Murakami addict-turned-skeptic, considers the popularity of the Japanese writer in light of his latest story collection, Men Without Women. (Vulture)