Zadie Smith Named New Harper's Columnist, a Poetry Salon in Damascus, Syria, and More

by Staff

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:

Zadie Smith has been named the monthly New Books columnist for Harper's magazine, starting in March 2011. "I think a good book review is a place to meet a book on its own terms, not as an ideological vehicle or an academic plaything," says Smith. (GalleyCat)

Donald Rumsfeld will publish a memoir in January revealing more information about what happened at the beginning of the current Iraq war. Politico has a sneak peak of Known and Unknown

The New York Times reports on a thriving weekly poetry salon in Damascus, Syria.

Half Price Books in Dallas has installed an electric car charging station outside the store for customers to refuel hybrid vehicles while they shop. (Dallas Morning News)

Publishers Weekly's recent salary survey revealed, among other statistics, that 85 percent of employees with less than three years of experience in the publishing industry are women. Now the trade magazine asks: Does it matter?

The chief executive of the British Library asks an important question: "Should a world-class library preserve Stephen Fry's tweets?" (Independent)

On Monday an appeals court held that "two Oregon statutes that criminalize the distribution of sex education and other non-obscene materials to minors are unconstitutional." The owner of Powell's Books, a plaintiff in the case, said the ruling was a victory for booksellers "who do not want to ask 13-year-olds for identification or risk going to jail for selling a Judy Blume book.” (American Booksellers Association)