Viet Thanh Nguyen’s “Immortal Moment,” Writing the Novels of Star Wars, 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.

For those still trying to select titles for their summer reading list, Vulture recommends seven June releases, including Nicole Dennis-Benn’s novel Patsy and poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous; Entertainment Weekly nominates the ten best books of 2019 thus far, including Valeria Luiselli’s novel Lost Children Archive and Bryan Washington’s debut poetry collection, Lot; and BuzzFeed stacks up twenty-nine titles coming out this summer, including Eve Ewing’s poetry collection 1919 and De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s debut novel, In West Mills.

At the New Yorker, novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen describes the “eternal scene” of his life, captured in photographs of him as a toddler with his late mother before they fled Vietnam as refugees. “The light from the photographs of a scene I do not remember touches me, as Roland Barthes says, like the delayed rays of a star, a radiance that takes decades to reach me.”

“I also knew that the fans would really be paying attention. If I got something wrong, they would have had no qualms in voicing their concerns.” Author Adam Christopher joins Jenny Colga and Chuck Wendig in sharing the pleasures and pitfalls of writing licensed novels—for the Netflix series Stranger Things, the BBC show Doctor Who, and the Star Wars films, respectively. (Guardian)

For those wondering why book subtitles seem to be getting longer and longer, the Washington Post has the answer: online search optimization.

On the thirtieth anniversary of Tiananmen Square, the Hong Kong publishers who documented the tragedy fear that tighter border checks, increased mainland control, and the disappearance and imprisonment of independent publishers mean they will soon go out of business. “Independent publishing has been reduced to a nonprofit activity for preserving some important historical documents, memoirs and recollections,” New Century Press founder Bao Pu told the New York Times.

Brandeis University Press has named Sue Berger Ramin its inaugural director. In the new position Ramin will work with Brandeis editors to acquire scholarly works, books for course adoption, and trade works of general interest, as well as develop new publishing subjects that connect with the university’s mission.

At the Creative Independent, poet and fiction writer Juliet Escoria talks about her multiple attempts to write her debut novel, Juliet the Maniac, and depicting mental illness outside the neat arc of a traditional plot structure.

And in a new podcast by singer-songwriter Ben Arthur, writers and musicians explore the intersection of their storytelling styles. SongWriter, which launches next week, will feature guests such as Susan Orlean, Gary Shteyngart, Joyce Carol Oates, and Roxane Gay. (Paste)