Daily News

Every day the editors of Poets & Writers Magazine scan the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know.

3.4.24

Diversity in publishing has been steadily increasing, according to Lee & Low Books’ Diversity Baseline Survey: Last year, 72.5 percent of publishing, review journal, and literary agency staff identified as White/Caucasian, down from 76 percent in 2019 and 79 percent in 2015, according to the survey.

3.4.24

The slightly different color of a rereleased cult-favorite ink by a German pen manufacturer has spurred a “drama in the fountain pen community,” reports the New York Times.

Week of February 26th, 2024
3.1.24

Little Free Library is partnering with the Free Library of Philadelphia for the Little Free(dom) Library initiative, which will collect and circulate books that have been the target of book bans, including The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, and others. Anyone can take a book from the Little Free(dom) libraries at one of fourteen locations in the City of Brotherly Love, writes Visit Philadelphia.

3.1.24

Spotify, which launched audiobooks on its podcast and music platform last year, is offering a special option for audiobooks enthusiasts who are less interested in other kinds of listening. Audiobooks Access Tier is slightly less expensive than the Premium option that gives access to audiobooks in addition to music and podcasts, writes Publishers Weekly.

3.1.24

The rise of knockoff books—or titles posing as the work of recognized authors but apparently generated by AI—continues to undermine writers, reports the Washington Post. The fakes are common on Amazon, and many authors and publishers wonder “why such a powerful tech company seems to be having such a hard time getting a handle on the problem.” But a solution may be on the horizon, says a columnist at Publishers Weekly.

2.29.24

Wired unpacks the strange economics of fan fiction, untangling who gets to profit off the derivative work and why. The article focuses on one fan fiction story in particular—Manacled, a cross between the Harry Potter franchise and The Handmaid’s Tale—whose author just signed a publishing deal with Del Rey.

2.29.24

The New York Times takes a tour through the Museo Bodoniano in Parma, Italy, where patrons receive an education in the eighteenth century typographer and creator of the eponymous Bodoni typeface that graces many book covers.

2.29.24

Northern Europeans are increasingly reading English versions of books rather than titles translated into national languages, changing the market for foreign rights and translators, writes the Bookseller, a U.K. publication about the book business.

2.29.24

The Equity Directory is a new online resource offering a listing of BIPOC literary agents, writes Publishers Weekly. The free directory will be maintained by volunteers with Literary Agents of Change.

2.28.24

Merriam-Webster recently declared that it is just fine to end a sentence with a preposition, sparking a grammatical controversy for the ages, reports NPR.

2.28.24

Atria Books is launching an imprint called Primero Sueño Press, which will publish books of fiction and nonfiction by Latinx authors in both English and Spanish, reports Publishers Weekly. The imprint will be led by Michelle Herrera Mulligan, who joined Atria in 2018 and has published titles by Reyna Grande, Gabrielle Lyon, Vanessa Marin, Chiquis Rivera, and other authors.

2.28.24

On the occasion of Mary Dearborn’s new biography, Carson McCullers: A Life, Maggie Doherty looks at the life and writing of the beloved author of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. “If seemingly everyone agreed that McCullers was a child, they indulged her because she was a genius,” Doherty writes in the New Yorker.

2.28.24

For the Atlantic, Vann R. Newkirk II asks teachers about their favorite books, and about what teaching Black history feels like in a time of book bans.

2.27.24

Literary magazine Creative Nonfiction is partnering with Narratively, an online storytelling platform, according to a blog post by Lee Gutkind, Creative Nonfiction’s editor. The partnership involves a new essay series and other collaborations in the works.

2.27.24

The New York Times profiles Aaron Lansky, who created the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, now home to 1.5 million Yiddish books that may have otherwise been lost. Lansky has announced his retirement as the Center’s president, effective June 2025.

2.27.24

Small Press Distribution (SPD) is moving ahead with its SPD Next plan, which the nonprofit book distributor touts as a way to cut costs while increasing services for its clientele of four hundred independent publishers, reports Publishers Weekly. SPD has moved 300,000 books to space owned by Ingram Content Group and Publishers Storage and Shipping (PSS). The partnership with Ingram and PSS will also give SPD’s clients access to “print-on-demand, e-book, and audiobook distribution” services.

2.26.24

The poet Lyn Hejinian has died, according to the University of California in Berkeley, where she was Professor and John F. Hotchkis Chair Emerita. The university called her “one of the most significant poets of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries” and “the soul of the Berkeley English department” for two decades.

2.26.24

The poet Elizabeth Arnold has died, according to Flood Editions, the publisher of her books Wave House (2023), Skeleton Coast (2017), Life (2014), Effacement (2010), and Civilization (2006). Arnold taught for many years in the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Maryland in College Park and uncovered a lost novel by Mina Loy, Insel, which she edited for Black Sparrow Press in 1991. Listen to a 2022 virtual reading and discussion with Arnold in Poets & Writers Theater.

2.26.24

Book clubs are increasingly popular, particularly with Millennial and Gen Z readers, reports CNN. The growth “reflects a renewed interest in events and experiences in-person following the isolation of the pandemic, as well as growing fatigue with endless time on screens.”

2.26.24

Forbes interviews four publishing experts to consider the proverbial question: “Can you make a living as an author?”

Week of February 19th, 2024
2.23.24

Vice Media Group, a one-time online journalistic powerhouse with ventures in television and other entertainment, is laying off hundreds of employees and will stop publishing on its news website, reports NBC News. The company will “look to partner with established media companies to distribute our digital content,” says Vice’s CEO.

2.23.24

An international literature festival that was once held each year in Odessa, Ukraine, is currently underway in Bucharest, Romania, due to the ongoing war with Russia. Launched in 2015, the International Literature Festival Odesa “aims to highlight the ‘international character and cultural effervescence’ of the port city in southwestern Ukraine that was the birthplace or home of writers such as Adam Mickiewicz, Alexander Pushkin, Lesya Ukrainka, Anna Akhmatova,” and others, writes Romania Insider.

2.23.24

The Harvard Gazette offers a peek inside poet and literary critic Stephanie Burt’s new course at Harvard University called Taylor Swift and Her World. The course, “the largest taught in the arts and humanities this spring” at Harvard, teaches Swift alongside writing by Willa Cather, Alexander Pope, Sylvia Plath, and contemporary singers like Beyoncé.

2.22.24

Writing is widely considered to be a solo activity. But is it really? The Financial Times considers literary works whose authors’ relied more upon collaboration than many readers realize.

2.22.24

The executive director of Hugo House has resigned, reports the Seattle Times. Diana Delgado will depart the nonprofit literary center in Seattle on April 1, less than a year after she began as director. In recent years, Hugo House has struggled with “high staff turnover and finances that have been dipping into the red.”

2.22.24

Vanity Fair seeks to set the record straight about the friendship—or lack thereof—between Truman Capote and James Baldwin, which has been recently depicted on FX’s new show, Feud: Capote Vs. the Swans.

2.22.24

Some writers were reportedly shunned in 2023 by the Hugo Awards, a prestigious prize for science-fiction writing, due to their critical stance toward China, where the prize ceremony was held last year. The allegations have led to the resignation of one of the awards administrators, writes the New York Times.

2.22.24

Workers at the Barnes & Noble on West 82nd Street in New York City have moved to unionize, filing for a union election and representation by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, reports Publishers Weekly, which notes the filing follows “a series of labor efforts across many sectors of the book business in recent years.”

2.21.24

A man charged in a plot to kill Masih Alinejad, an Iranian American author and critic of Iran’s treatment of women, has been arrested in the Czech Republic and extradited to the United States to face trial, reports the New York Times.

2.21.24

February 21 is International Mother Language Day, thanks to a designation by UNESCO. The day is meant to “honor linguistic diversity and the preservation of heritage language,” according to Words Without Borders, which marks the occasion by highlighting works by eight authors who write in their mother languages, “from Wolof and Kankanaey to Uyghur and Mapudungun.”

2.21.24

A statue of Herman Melville will reportedly be erected in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The coastal town is where Melville’s Moby-Dick narrator, Ishmael, travels before embarking on the whaling vessel overseen by Captain Ahab, and it’s where Melville himself set sail on his own whaling adventure ten years before publishing his 1851 novel. New Bedford has long been a tourist destination for Melville fans.   

2.21.24

Finalists for this year’s Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were announced this morning. Among the sixty-six nominees in thirteen categories are Victor LaValle for speculative fiction, Yiyun Li and Justin Torres for fiction, Airea Matthews and Maggie Millner for poetry, and Shannon Sanders for first fiction. Check out Poets & Writers Magazine’s Ten Questions interviews with LaValle, MatthewsMillner, Sanders, and Torres.

2.21.24

The medical school of the University of Porto in Portugal is offering a new elective course on the fundamentals of modern poetry. Created by breast-cancer surgeon and poet João Luís Barreto Guimarães, the course is meant to develop “humanistic values that doctors should strive for when they are in front of a patient,” Guimarães says in the Guardian.

2.20.24

Nicholas Roman Lewis, who has worked as a literary agent and entertainment attorney, will direct the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards for the Cleveland Foundation. The awards, established in 1935, “recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.”

2.20.24

The Jewish Book Council is taking on antisemitism by launching “an ini­tia­tive for authors, pub­lish­ers, pub­li­cists, agents, edi­tors, and read­ers to report anti­se­mit­ic lit­er­ary-relat­ed inci­dents. ... The hope is that, by report­ing and record­ing anti­semitism in the lit­er­ary world, we can help to put sup­port sys­tems in place for those affected.”

2.20.24

Rikers Island, New York City’s largest jail with a fearsome reputation, has inspired a proliferation of writing by people who have spent time inside: “The books include harrowing memoirs by guards, inspirational accounts by educators and thinly veiled fictional hellscape narratives by detainees. There are romances, fights and jailbreaks,” writes the New York Times.

2.20.24

A1935 British novel was rescued from the ash heap of history by a bartender from Manchester, England, reports the New YorkerCaliban Shrieks—whose nearly forgotten author, Jack Hilton, was revered in his day by the likes of George Orwell—will be republished in March by Vintage Classics in the United Kingdom.

2.19.24

The curator of women’s history at the National Museum of African American History and Culture writes in Fine Books & Collections magazine about the museum’s acquisition of a large private collection of work by Phillis Wheatley Peters that promises to shed new light on the eighteenth century poet. Peters was the first African American to publish a book of poetry and published many poems while enslaved by the Wheatley family in Boston; she was emancipated in 1773.

2.19.24

The New York Times offers an inside look at the whirlwind romance and wedding of novelist Kristen Arnett and writer Kayla Upadhyaya.

Week of February 12th, 2024
2.16.24

Claremont Graduate University has announced the winners of its 2024 Tufts poetry prizes. For West: A Translation, Paisley Rekdal will receive the Kinglsey Tufts Poetry Award, which honors a poetry collection by a mid-career poet and comes with a $100,000 prize. Jacqui Germain will receive the Kate Tufts Award, which offers $10,000 for a first book, for Bittering the Wound. Listen to Rekdal read fromWest here.

2.16.24

Wired reports on the proliferation of paid reviews of books and other media, including at respected outlets such as Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

2.16.24

Vanity Fair profiles author Blake Butler. Molly, Butler’s recent memoir about his first wife, the late poet Molly Brodak, caused a stir online due to the book’s intimate look at Brodak’s life, including revelations about disturbing behavior Butler only learned about after her death. Read Butler’s recent contribution to Poets & Writers Magazine’s Writers Recommend.

2.15.24

The inaugural Women’s Prize for Nonfiction announced its longlist for 2024, which includes U.S. authors Safiya Sinclair for her memoir Say Babylon and Tiya Miles for All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, A Black Family Keepsake, reports the Guardian. The prize, an offshoot of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, is open to women whose nonfiction books have been published in English in the United Kingdom. The award comes with a cash prize of £30,000 (approximately $38,000). The winner will be announced on March 27.

2.15.24

The National Book Foundation has announced that U.S. citizenship will no longer be a requirement for its awards in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. Any author who maintains their “primary, long-term home in the United States, U.S. territories, or Tribal lands” will now be eligible for consideration starting March 13, when the foundation opens for submissions for the 2024 National Book Awards. This follows a similar decision by the Pulitzer Prizes last year; read about it in Poets & Writers Magazine.

2.15.24

Not only can AI perform the work of writers, apparently it can duplicate their voices. At the memorial of famed Czech author Karel Čapek, who died in 1938, visitors can use an app to hear an AI version of Čapek speak about his life at the site, which is at his former summer home in the Czech Republic. Czech Radio and the Karel Čapek Memorial used AI to “synthesize” the author’s voice from old recordings and create new audio, reports Radio Prague International.

2.15.24

Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House, has announced that it will publish four novels that it received through its inaugural Open Submission Program, which allowed unagented authors to submit books from late December 2021 through January 2022, reports Publishers Weekly. The publisher is scheduled to open a second submission period in March.

2.14.24

Writers dreaming of packing in their novels or poetry collections and heading off to a lucrative career in Hollywood should think again. Many TV and film writers in La La Land are financially insecure, with 42 percent saying “they had to choose between buying food and paying for other essentials like rent, utilities, and medical bills,” writes the Hollywood Reporter.

2.14.24

A major exhibition of book covers spanning seven centuries is underway at the Grolier Club in New York City. Colossal reports on the show and offers images of some of the striking covers.

2.14.24

The Guardian investigates a titillating mystery: “how romance bookstores took over America.”

2.14.24

The Yale Review marks this Valentine’s Day by launching “Objects of Desire,” a new column in which authors contemplate their “strange, libidinal attachments” to commonplace items. Catherine Lacey begins the series with a consideration of the reusable glass jar.

2.14.24

In the Financial Times, author Nilanjana Roy contemplates literary cities—such as UNESCO’s fifty-three official Cities of Literature—and what makes them stand out as bookish enclaves.

2.14.24

Sally Kim has been named president and publisher of Little, Brown, Publishers Weekly reports. Kim, who will begin in the role on March 4, succeeds Bruce Nichols. Kim is currently the senior vice president and publisher of G.P. Putnam’s and Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House where Kim began as editorial director in 2015.

2.13.24

A federal judge dismissed parts of a copyright lawsuit by authors including Michael Chabon and Ta-Nehisi Coates claiming that OpenAI illegally used plaintiffs’ books in developing ChatGPT, reports NBC News. The judge rejected “arguments that the content generated by ChatGPT infringes their copyrights and that the company unjustly enriched itself with their work.” The ruling follows a similar one in a case brought by the same authors against Meta; that suit will be consolidated with the one against OpenAI, in which the matter of “direct copyright infringement advanced to the discovery phase,” writes the Guardian

2.13.24

The Love Bank in Slovakia is a “shrine” to what some have called “the world’s longest love poem,” reports the New York Times. A copy of Andrej Sladkovic’s 1846 poem, which has 2,900 verses and 291 stanzas, survived a fire that has closed the Love Bank for repairs, preventing tourists from depositing keepsakes in “Love Boxes” this Valentine’s Day.

2.13.24

San Francisco’s largest rare book fair, held last week, drew more women and queer collectors seeking insight into their literary forebears, the San Francisco Standard reports.

2.13.24

The Los Angeles Times considers a spate of recent films about authors by screenwriters who are known for their writing in other genres, “holding up mirrors to their own lives and careers.”

2.13.24

Twenty authors have been awarded the inaugural Writing Freedom Fellowship, which supports writers who have been affected by the criminal justice system and was launched last year by Haymarket Books and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Read more about the fellowship in Poets & Writers Magazine.

2.13.24

The Guardian explores some of the “unsung literary heroes of the early gay rights movement.”

2.12.24

Hundreds of writers have signed an open letter calling on PEN America to respond to the war in Gaza, particularly by holding Israel responsible for the death of “the 225 poets, playwrights, journalists, scholars and novelists” who have been killed in the conflict. The letter—signed by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Carmen Maria Machado, Lidia Yuknavitch, and more than five hundred others—follows the ejection of activists from a PEN America event last month.

2.12.24

After two years in business and thousands of literary magazines and writers joining its network, submissions website Chill Subs is becoming a formidable challenger to Submittable, reports Publishers Weekly.

2.12.24

The Oregonian’s advice columnist has some words of wisdom for a writer who wishes to ward off book pitches and other unwelcome inquiries after telling people about their profession. 

2.12.24

The New Yorker considers whether the media is approaching an “extinction-level event” after a spate of layoffs by major publishers during the last year underscored the already-precarious situation for journalists and writers.