A Tweetathon to Save the Story, "Unoriginal Genius," 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:

Borders successfully auctioned its intellectual property in New York City this past Wednesday. Hilco Streambank managed the auction, selling various assets for $15,775,000. (Wall Street Journal)

Goodreads, the largest social networking website for book lovers, has added a recommendation engine for its users. (New York Times)

A code to scan with your smart phone to access online material, built-in soundtracks, animation, video interviews with the author—these are some of the options e-book creators will use as they attempt to harness the narrative potential of multiple electronic devices. The Los Angeles Times says this fall will be all about interactivity.

Citing critic Marjorie Perloff's term "unoriginal genius" to describe a new breed of writer spurred by technology, and a Jonathan Lethem essay on plagiarism in Harper's, Kenneth Goldsmith examines the changing state of creativity in this excerpt from his book Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age. (Chronicle of Higher Education)

To draw attention to the importance of the short story, writer Neil Gaiman (who currently has 1,635,549 Twitter followers) discusses the upcoming Tweetathon on BBC Radio 4. "Each Wednesday for the next five weeks, in association with the Society of Authors, a writer will tweet the first line of a story and tweeters will add the next four sentences to create a short story." Authors Joanne Harris, Sarah Waters, Simon Brett, and Ian Rankin are also participating. (Guardian)

Dean Robinson lists his three favorite cities in fiction—not fictional places, but real-life cities, made more vivid by the novels that portray them. (New York Times)

On this first crisp day of autumn, here are previews of must-read books for the season, listed by the Daily Beast and the Los Angeles Times, including much-anticipated releases by Joan Didion, Jeffrey Eugenides, Chad Harbach, Haruki Murakami, Elissa Schappell, and Colson Whitehead.

Meanwhile, last night was the release party for Harbach's first novel, The Art of Fielding, at the Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, New York, and the Observer reports it was a congenial affair. Harbach's book involves college baseball—not that anyone would know it by looking at the cover. Salon explains why the publisher downplayed this aspect, reporting that "its designer was forbidden from referring to the sport on the book's cover."