Turkish Author Released from Prison, Leslie Jamison on Sad Literary Women, and More


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.

Turkish author Ahmet Altan has been released from prison after spending more than three years in detention. His incarceration was widely criticized by the global intellectual community, including in a letter addressed to President Erdoğan signed by thirty-eight Nobel laureates. (Guardian)

At the New York Times, Leslie Jamison considers the complicated politics surrounding artistic representations of women suffering. When is sadness being articulated in its full complexity? When is the “literary sad woman” merely being fetishized? Revisiting works such as Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight and Alexander McQueen’s notorious “Highland Rape” runway show, Jamison neither discounts nor vindicates literary sadness. Instead, she looks forward to a future with a multiplicity of complex emotional narratives for women characters: “If sadness once struck me as terminally hip, then I’ve arrived on the far side of 35 with a deepening appreciation for the ways pleasure and satisfaction can become structuring forces of identity as well.” 

Two Lines Press has announced it will launch a new imprint, Calico, to publish literature in translation. Calico’s first title, scheduled for release in March 2020, will be an anthology of speculative short fiction from China and Hong Kong titled That We May Live. (Publishers Weekly)

Alex Segura describes the intense experience of bringing a five-book series to a close. In conversation with Ivy Pochoda at the Los Angeles Review of Books, he shares how he began to plant the seeds of the finale. 

“Why do we force refugees to show these extreme, black-and-white, perfect stories, and yet we’ve never told a perfect story in our lives?” Dina Nayeri discusses her ambition to accurately reflect the lives of refugees in her latest book, The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You. (Guernica)

Saeed Jones talks to Terry Gross about his memoir, How We Fight For Our Lives, and his relationship with his mother at the heart of the book. (NPR)

At Electric Literature, John Cotter considers the risks, responsibilities, and rewards of bringing real life figures into fiction

Mimi Lok talks with Dave Eggers about her debut collection, Last of Her Name, and representing the Chinese diaspora on the page