Zadie Smith on Optimism and Despair, Bookbinding to Relieve Stress, 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:

“I believe in human limitation, not out of any sense of fatalism but out of a learned caution, gleaned from both recent and distant history. We will never be perfect: that is our limitation.” Novelist Zadie Smith responds to a frequently asked question about her work: “In your earlier novels you sounded so optimistic, but now your books are tinged with despair. Is that fair to say?” (New York Review of Books)

“Some have called her the Godmother of Punk, others the Grande Dame of Alternative Rock. But what Patti Smith really is, deep down in her heart, is a poet.” A consideration of why Patti Smith is a suitable replacement for Bob Dylan at the Nobel Prize Ceremony—which Dylan is unable to attend—for winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. (DW)

The Guardian is forming a partnership with Vice Media that will include reports airing on Vice’s nightly news program in the U.S. and U.K. This is Vice News’s first deal with another news organization.

The Rumpus features an interview with famed magazine editor Terry McDonnell about his new memoir, The Accidental Life, which includes stories of the writers he worked with during his time at Rolling Stone and other publications. The Accidental Life is also featured in “Nine More New Memoirs,” in the September/October 2016 issue of Poets & Writers.

Melville House has announced plans to publish What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America, an anthology of essays by political figures, journalists, and more. Among the notable contributors are Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Gloria Steinem. (GalleyCat)

Looking for an uncommon stress reliever? Consider the act of bookbinding. (Gizmodo)

The A/V Club rounds up reader and staff responses to question of what non-2016 book they read this year.

Sara Gruen, author of the best-selling novel Water for Elephants, has drawn ire from readers for attempting to resell more than a hundred “Hatchimals”—a popular children’s toy—that she purchased on Ebay. (Los Angeles Times)