U.K. and Ireland See Independent Bookstore Growth, Juliana Barbassa to Join Books Desk at the New York Times, and More

by Staff
1.7.22

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.

The U.K. and Ireland saw fifty-four new independent bookstores open this past year. Meryl Halls of the Booksellers Association commented, “After a challenging few years for the sector, it is reassuring to see the number of independent bookshops in BA membership grow for a fifth consecutive year.” (Guardian)

The books desk at the New York Times will soon welcome Juliana Barbassa as deputy for news and features. She is departing her current position as the lead for coverage of Latin America for the international desk. “Between her experience as an author, her interest in books and her experience covering breaking news, we are excited about what Juliana will bring to our coverage,” writes Pamela Paul, the editor of the Book Review.

Consultant and translator Tess O’Dwyer has become the first person of color to serve as chair of the Academy of American Poets’ board of directors. “As an Asian American I’m especially proud to help lead the Academy in this time in which the art form is reflecting such a wide-range of voices,” O’Dwyer said. (Publishers Weekly)

Bookseller and community leader Yusef Harris has died at age sixty-six. He founded Alkebu-Lan Images in Nashville, which specializes in Black literature and goods. “He really saw an opportunity to be a source of the cultural product to the community,” reflected his son and business partner Jordan Harris, who will continue to the run the store. (Shelf Awareness)

A short story by Toni Morrison titled “Recitatif,” which first appeared in a 1983 anthology, is being reissued as a book with an introduction by Zadie Smith. Scholar Autumn M. Womack told the Los Angeles Times, “You’ll begin to think of her as someone who experimented with form. You’ll get away from the idea that she was solely a novelist and think of her as someone who was trying all kinds of writing.” The book Recitatif is due out next month from Knopf.

“In that moment, I decided I would write a book about a pilot. Simple! What a fool I was.” Maggie Shipstead, author of Great Circle, describes traveling the globe in writing and in real life. (Oprah Daily)

Emily Temple of Literary Hub reminds readers of the literary films and television forthcoming this year, including adaptations of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko and Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

“I asked my girlfriend to marry me on Ash Wednesday. It was an accident—not the asking, the timing.” Kathryn Schulz of the New Yorker recalls preparing to propose.