Writers Rally for Liu Xiaobo, Orwell Birthplace to Be Restored, and More

Adrian Versteegh

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:

Don DeLillo, E. L. Doctorow, and A. M. Homes joined other PEN members on the steps of the New York Public Library last week to demand the release of Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo, who was sentenced on Christmas Day to eleven years in prison (Press Release).

A suspect is in custody in Bloomington following the murder last Monday of author Don Belton, a professor of English at Indiana University (Indianapolis Star).

Renovations are expected to begin this year on the colonial bungalow in eastern India where Eric Arthur Blair—better known as George Orwell—was born in 1903 (AFP).

E-books may have “outsold” print titles at Amazon this Christmas, but most of those “best-sellers” didn’t carry a price tag at all (Huffington Post).

The East German secret police spent nearly three decades meticulously spying on Nobel laureate Günter Grass, according to a book due this spring (Independent).

Author and futurist Ray Kurzweil will unveil Blio—a free e-reading platform that aims to preserve the look of the printed page—at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (Wired). At the same event, market newcomer Paradigm Shift is set to debut two full-color, high-resolution e-readers (Engadget).

Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd will donate the proceeds from his upcoming children’s book to a Melbourne hospital (Reuters).

A document furnished by Google listing the thousands of Chinese works scanned into its digital library is incomplete, according to the China Written Works Copyright Society (China Daily). Meanwhile, Shanghai-based novelist Mian Mian—most of whose work is banned in China—is suing the Internet search giant for making her latest book, Acid House, available online (CBC).

The first volumes in a new Jorge Luis Borges series—including works never before published in English—are due this spring from Penguin Classics (Three Percent).

Richard Dawkins, Neil Gaiman, and Sarah Waters are among the authors slated to appear at the upcoming New Zealand International Arts Festival, which runs from February 26 to March 21 in Wellington.

In an age of texting, Twitter, and general digital glut, is it time for a “slow word” movement? (Forbes)