VONA Fellows Pen Letter to Board, Mary Karr and the Dangers of Idolization, 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:

Voices of Our Nations (VONA) fellows have penned a letter to the VONA Board of Directors requesting the organization cut all ties with Junot Díaz and prioritize the needs of VONA community members “who have experienced abuse or harm by Junot Díaz or other VONA faculty.” Díaz cofounded the organization, which serves writers of color through workshop programs, in 1999.

Meanwhile, Monica Castillo writes about the accusations against Díaz and how they reveal the risks of tokenism. (Washington Post)

“Karr’s #MeToo stories were not so much an open secret as an open revelation. They were not hiding in plain sight; they were, worse, strategically ignored. They were the collateral damage of a culture that prefers convenient idols.” In response to writer Mary Karr’s recent reminders on Twitter about how David Foster Wallace abused and stalked her, Megan Garber points out the dangers of America’s obsession with male genius. (Atlantic)

Amina Gautier and Joan Silber were awarded the 2018 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story

In other award news, the Academy of American Poets has won the National Book Foundation’s $10,000 Innovations in Reading Prize for its “Teach a Poem” project, through which twenty-seven thousand people receive a weekly poem accompanied with teaching materials and advice.

Director Ramin Bahrani chronicles his experiences adapting Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 for the screen and discusses how the future Bradbury feared—in which books and knowledge and ideas were endangered—might be here. Bahrani’s film, which stars Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, will premier on May 19 on HBO. (New York Times)

As part of Guernica’s Desert issue, Francisco Cantu and Lauren Markham discuss writing about the U.S. border patrol and immigration policy in their respective debut books, The Line Becomes a River and The Far Away Brothers.

Samantha Irby on the books she’s never read, who she wants to write her life story, and her favorite anti-hero. (New York Times)