Kurt Vonnegut's Writers' Workshop Assignment, Ten Favorite Books of 2012, 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:

Bethan Tichborne, a poet and Oxford graduate, was arrested at a tree-lighting ceremony in England, at which Prime Minister David Cameron shared the stage with Santa. (Harriet)

The BBC announced it will create a six-episode series based on Susanna Clarke's bestselling novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. (TVWise)

Alexander Nazaryan suggests Zoë Heller's recent piece in the New York Review of Books on Salman Rushdie's memoir Joseph Anton may be the "hatchet job of the year." (New York Daily News)

"Do not do so as an academic critic, nor as a person drunk on art, nor as a barbarian in the literary market place. Do so as a sensitive person who has a few practical hunches about how stories can succeed or fail." Slate features an Iowa Writers’ Workshop assignment by Kurt Vonnegut, reprinted from the new book, Kurt Vonnegut: Letters.

The Millions has launched its anticipated month-long series, "A Year in Reading."

"A month ago, I touched a lock of Sylvia Plath’s hair." For Tin House's blog, Emma Komlos-Hrobsky writes of attending a Sylvia Plath symposium in Bloomington, Indiana, and takes a fresh look at Plath’s poem, “The Night Dances."

New York magazine's Kathryn Schulz lists her ten favorite books of 2012, with Alice Munro's Dear Life topping the list.

The Salt Institute in Portland, Maine, has posted the audio of a master class with author Susan Orlean—the subject is "finding a good story."


So it goes...

Vonnegut’s zany and surreal world reflects the absurdity of our own and really bent my mind to different modes of thinking.  His work has inspired my own visual arts for quite some time and I created a tribute illustration of the author with the help of an old typewriter.  You can see it at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/11/happy-birthday-mr-vonnegut.html  and tell me how his work and words also affected you.