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.

Week of June 17th, 2024
6.21.24

Sadie Stein, an editor of the New York Times Book Review, offers a love letter to Cricket, a literary magazine for children founded in 1973.

6.21.24

Literary Hub considers the financial plight of freelance book critics, who reportedly make less than minimum wage.

6.21.24

Business Insider reports on Amazon’s book sales, which are apparently booming. The company, which had bookselling at the center of its business model when it was founded in 1994, reportedly sold $16.9 billion worth of books in the first ten months of 2022.

6.20.24

Publishers Weekly reports on strong book sales over the past several months, reversing a difficult start to the year in the book business.

6.20.24

Mariner Books has announced that its Best American Series for 2024 will be published in October. The guest editors of the anthologies, which collect the year’s standout fiction and nonfiction, are S. A. Cosby for mystery and suspense, Lauren Groff for short stories, Hugh Howey for science fiction and fantasy, Padma Lakshmi for food and travel writing, Bill McKibben for science and nature writing, and Wesley Morris for essays. The Best American Poetry series is published by Scribner.

6.20.24

In the Atlantic scholars Dan Sinykin and Richard Jean So ask whether positive movements toward diversity in publishing will continue or may slow due to a backlash.

6.20.24

The New York Times delves into the role of Black women librarians during the Harlem Renaissance.

6.20.24

A beloved bookstore chain in Denver, Tattered Cover, has been purchased by Barnes & Noble, reports Publishers Weekly. “Tattered Cover will keep its name and branding, and B&N anticipates that it will retain a majority of the 70 people currently employed at the four locations.”

6.20.24

Publishers Weekly reports on the International Book Arsenal Festival, held last week in Kyiv, Ukraine. “Despite the recent tragedy and the ongoing challenges posed by the war, the 12th International Book Arsenal Festival saw an impressive turnout, attracting 35,000 visitors. The expanded program featured more than 260 participants across 160 events involving upwards of 100 publishers and five bookstores.”

6.20.24

On Literary Hub Maris Kreizman considers how more authors are enlisting publicists outside their publishing houses to get their books in front of readers and whether this is the only path forward to build an audience.

6.18.24

On JSTOR Daily Jess Romeo considers the early influences on the work of science-fiction legend Octavia Butler.

6.18.24

Two Dollar Radio Headquarters, the bookstore and café owned by publisher Two Dollar Radio in Columbus, Ohio, is welcoming a new co-owner, reports Publishers Weekly. Gary Lovely, who currently works as the store manager of Prologue Bookshop in Columbus, “will steer the day-to-day operations of the storefront, and plans to bump the store’s inventory from 1,000 titles to 3,000.”

6.18.24

Author Arundhati Roy is being prosecuted by the Indian government due to her public statements in 2010 critiquing India’s treatment of Kashmir, reports the Guardian. “While Roy, 62, is one of India’s most famous living authors, her activism and outspoken criticism of [Narendra] Modi’s government, including over laws targeting minorities, have made her a polarising figure in India.”

6.18.24

The Star Tribune reports on changes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, including the replacement of its annual Wordplay festival with a series of quarterly author events. Read an interview with the Loft’s executive director, Arleta Little, in the current issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

6.17.24

Restless Books has launched a poetry line of works in translation and English originals emphasizing international, immigrant, and Indigenous poets, reports Publishers Weekly.

6.17.24

A new biography of Thom Gunn is out this week, shedding light on the acclaimed late poet who “has always been a puzzle.

6.17.24

Why are books suddenly the go-to accessory for fashion brands? Vogue investigates.

6.17.24

Esquire reports on the movement to ban books inside prisons.

Week of June 10th, 2024
6.14.24

Tomorrow the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City will host its sixth annual literary festival, with author talks, readings, a marketplace, and more. Also tomorrow, the city’s Strand Book Store will be hosting its ninety-seventh anniversary celebration, with author events, a documentary screening, and more.

6.14.24

In the New York Review of Books Isabella Hammad considers why so many writers have “treated pro-Palestine speech as a threat.”

6.13.24

The New York Times reports from inside High Valley Books, a vintage bookshop with more than fifty thousand books and magazines located in Bill Hall’s home in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

6.13.24

Harper’s Bazaar profiles Joyce Carol Oates, who at eighty-six has published more than sixty novels.

6.13.24

The Lambda Literary Awards ceremony took place this week. The organization, which supports LGBTQ literature, awarded authors in twenty-six categories, including Catherine Lacey for Biography of X in Lesbian Fiction, Myriam Gurba for Creep: Accusations and Confessions in Bisexual Nonfiction, and Teeter by Kimberly Alidio in Lesbian Poetry. Read the full list in People.

6.13.24

Authors Equity, a new publishing company run by former Big Five publishing executives that promises to send more profits to writers, has announced its first ten titles, including a novel by James Frey, a self-help book by Rachel Hollis, and an anthology of short fiction by contributors to Kweli Journal, among others. The startup has been criticized by those in the literary community who see the company’s structure as a symptom of the gig economy that undercompensates part-time workers.

6.12.24

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) has announced the retirement of executive director Cynthia Sherman after twelve years in the role. AWP has launched a national search for Sherman’s successor.

6.12.24

Axios explores “a new Latin American literary boom” and the role of women translators in the phenomenon.

6.12.24

In Harper’s Bazaar novelist Kaitlyn Greenidge interviews Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of The 1619 Project, about the expansion of a Black literary salon Hannah-Jones runs in Brooklyn, New York.

6.12.24

Author Emily Gould, the Cut’s advice columnist, considers whether a writer’s family should be warned about the sex scenes in their book.

6.12.24

NPR considers the nuances of the term book ban; its meaning “depends on who you ask.”

6.11.24

UNESCO has named Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as the World Book Capital for 2025. The designation reflects the city’s “clearly defined vision and action plan to promote literature, sustainable publishing and reading among young people tapping into digital technologies,” according to a statement. This year’s World Book Capital is Strasbourg, France, where the New York Times recently reported on the local literary scene.

6.11.24

After establishing itself as a literary hotspot in the City of Brotherly Love, hosting more than one hundred author and book events a year, the Free Library of Philadelphia has fired its entire author-events team, leading to the cancellation of book launches and other scheduled dates this month, reports Publishers Weekly.

6.11.24

The New York Times reports on the rise of worker-owned bookstores with social-justice missions.

6.11.24

The Boston Globe reports on U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón’s signature project, You Are Here: Poetry in Parks. The project will launch Friday in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where Limón will unveil a picnic table at the trailhead of the Beech Forest Trail that has been overlaid with Mary Oliver’s poem “Can You Imagine?” The Beech Forest Trail picnic table will be one of seven tables nationwide transformed into public art installations emblazoned with poetry.

6.11.24

The Guardian reports on the work of Fossil Free Books, a U.K. organization that has been advocating for literary-festival organizers to pressure a major financial supporter—Baillie Gifford, an asset-management company—to terminate investments in fossil fuels and companies with ties to Israel, due to the nation’s war in Gaza that has reportedly killed nearly thirty-five thousand Palestinians. “Despite its role in bringing the asset manager’s sponsorships to an end, the activist group has faced criticism that ‘not a dime has been divested from fossil fuels’.”

6.10.24

In the New Republic, author Emma Copley Eisenberg considers the ubiquity of fatphobia in American fiction.

6.10.24

The Cut reports on the vibes at last week’s twentieth anniversary gala for the literary magazine n+1, ranking elements from atmosphere to celebrity esteem.

6.10.24

The three-story house in Portland, Oregon, where Ursula K. Le Guin wrote some of her most beloved books will become the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency, reports the Associated Press. The house was donated to the Portland nonprofit Literary Arts by the family of Le Guin, who died in 2018 at age eighty-eight. Le Guin “had a clear vision for her home to become a creative space for writers and a beacon for the broader literary community,” says Andrew Proctor, director of Literary Arts, which will manage the residency.

6.10.24

The New York Times explores how TikTok is contributing to more English books selling in Europe.

Week of June 3rd, 2024
6.7.24

Orion, the quarterly literary magazine focusing on nature, culture, and place, announced that Amy Brady is stepping down from her role as executive director. The magazine’s director of finance and operations, Donovan Arthen, will step forward to serve as interim executive director. On the editorial side, editor in chief Sumanth Prabhaker will transition to the role of editor-at-large; Tajja Isen, former editor in chief of Catapult, will serve as interim editor in chief of Orion.

6.6.24

The National Book Foundation, which administers the National Book Awards, today announced the election of three new board members: Jonathan Karp, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster; Peggy Koenig, chair emeritus of private equity firm Abry Partners; and Jahm Najafi, CEO of the Najafi Companies, a private investment firm.

6.6.24

Since Ukraine’s war with Russia began in early 2022, Ukrainian publishers have released more than 120 new “trauma-informed books to help children and teenagers cope with living through war,” reports the Conversation.

6.6.24

The Washington Post offers advice for how to handle an insufferable book-club member.

6.6.24

Hachette Book Group has laid off several editorial staff members of Little, Brown, reports Publishers Weekly, including vice president and executive editor Tracy Sherrod and senior editors Jean Garnett, Ben George, and Pronoy Sarkar.

6.6.24

Costco, one of the biggest retailers in the world, will stop selling books next year, except during the holiday season from September through December, reports the New York Times. “The decision could be a significant setback for publishers at a moment when the industry is facing stagnant print sales and publishing houses are struggling to find ways to reach customers who have migrated online.”

6.5.24

The Harper Group is launching a new nonfiction imprint called Harper Influence, reports Publishers Weekly. The imprint is geared toward a broad audience: “Whether in the fields of entertainment, science, medicine, nature, music, lifestyle, spirituality, cooking, design, or news-driven narratives, the defining theme of the list will be cultural impact and relevance.”

6.5.24

The Poetry Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million in grant funding to fifty-four nonprofit organizations and presses, including the Academy of American Poets, Alice James Books, CantoMundo, Cave Canem, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, MacDowell Foundation, Nightboat Books, and Poets House, among other organizations listed in the announcement.

6.5.24

Kiley Reid, author of Come and Get It and Such a Fun Age, talks with the Creative Independent about day jobs, creativity, and writing about money.

6.5.24

Canada’s Griffin Poetry Prize will be awarded at a ceremony tonight, reports the Canadian Press. Shortlist finalists for the $130,000 prize include U.S.-based poets Jorie Graham for To 2040, Ann Lauterbach for Door, and Ishion Hutchinson, a Jamaican-born poet who teaches at Cornell University, for School of Instructions. Read about major changes to the prestigious award in Poets & Writers Magazine.

6.4.24

Three of the Big Five Publishers and hundreds of other signatories have signed an open letter by PEN America protesting new education standards in South Carolina “that could lead to the removal of classic and critically acclaimed contemporary novels from the state’s public schools simply for including a sexual reference,” reports Publishers Weekly.

6.4.24

In the New York Times author Margaret Renkl contemplates the pleasures and perils of rereading later in life a book beloved in one’s youth.

6.4.24

LGBTQ Pride Month is in full swing, and Electric Literature has a list of sixty-five queer books to help readers celebrate.

6.4.24

A documentary about Salman Rushdie, based on his new memoir, Knife: Meditations on an Attempted Murder, is in development, reports the Guardian. The film will include “never-before-seen personal footage shot by his wife Rachel Eliza Griffiths,” a poet.

6.3.24

Digital audiobooks are selling well this year, continuing a growth trend, reports Publishers Weekly. Spotify’s recent move to start selling audiobooks seems to be playing a big part in sales gains—but concerns about compensation to authors for their audiobook titles remain.

6.3.24

The Booker Prizes shares titles nominated for its prestigious award that were initially rejected by publishers, including Shuggie Bain, the 2020 winner of the Booker Prize, which was rejected more than forty times before being accepted for publication.

6.3.24

Franz Kafka died exactly one hundred years ago, on June 3, 1924. Later this month a letter by the author of The Metamorphosis about his struggle to write while battling ill health will be up for auction at Sotheby’s in London, reports the Guardian. The New York Times recently considered Kafka’s “very online afterlife,” dubbing him “a pop idol of digital alienation.”

6.3.24

The Washington Post’s editorial-initiatives manager considers the importance of getting books to people in prison.

6.3.24

Readers from Seattle, Idaho, and Florida traveled to Portland, Oregon, this past weekend to buy books at a two-day warehouse sale by Powell’s Books, widely considered to be the largest indie new and used bookstore in the United States. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports from the sale, where patrons had their choice of thirty thousand surplus books, with hardcovers as low as $3.

Week of May 27th, 2024
5.31.24

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Naropa University and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado. Boulder Weekly speaks with Anne Waldman, the artistic director of Naropa’s annual summer writing program, about her new book, Tendril: A Meeting of Two Minds, which reflects on the foundation of the poetry school in 1974.

5.31.24

The Romance Writers of America (RWA) filed for bankruptcy this week due to a sharp decline in membership and divides within the organization over equity and inclusion, reports the Guardian. “In bankruptcy filings, RWA president Mary Ann Jock attributed the loss of the first 7,000 members to ‘disputes concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues between some members of a prior RWA board and others in the larger romance writing community,’ and said the group lost additional members as its annual conferences were cancelled during the pandemic.”

5.31.24

The Washington Post is marking the National Book Awards’ seventy-fifth anniversary this year with a series of essays reflecting on the prizes and literary culture in the United States. In today’s entry novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen considers how the inaugural National Book Awards “reflected 1950s America.”

5.31.24

NPR’s Wild Card speaks with U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón.

5.30.24

In the Atlantic Damon Beres considers “a devil’s bargain” between publishers—including the Atlantic—and AI companies such as OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT. “In practice, this means that users of ChatGPT, say, might type in a question and receive an answer that briefly quotes an Atlantic story;” the quote “will be accompanied by a citation and a link to the original source.”

5.30.24

The Austin Chronicle of Austin, Texas, takes readers “inside the small presses driving Austin’s literary scene.”

5.30.24

Esquire considers why debut books are reportedly “harder to launch” nowadays than in years past. “[D]ebut novelists need three key publicity achievements to ‘break out’: one, a major book club; two, a boost from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Indie Next, and/or Book of the Month; and three, a major profile.”

5.30.24

On Literary Hub Brittany Allen interviews one of the “architects” of the New York War Crimes (NYWC), a protest newspaper developed “adjacent to Writers Against the War on Gaza,” a literary activist organization in solidarity with Palestinians during the war in Gaza. The NYWC aims to critique war coverage by the New York Times with a “two-pronged strategy: delegitimize the paper of record, while shining a light on its omissions,” the anonymous interviewee told Allen. “For the time being, the NYWC editorial team does prefer to remain obscure. ... An anonymized masthead honors the paper’s collective structure.”

5.30.24

The New York Times unpacks how a self-published book, The Shadow Work Journal: A Guide to Integrate and Transcend Your Shadows by Keila Shaheen, became a best-seller, revealing “how radically book sales and marketing have been changed by TikTok.”

5.29.24

Jane Austen fans are lobbying to save the Dolphin Hotel in Southampton, England, where the beloved novelist celebrated her eighteenth birthday, reports the Guardian. The Southhampton city council is considering a redevelopment plan for the hotel, parts of which date to the sixteenth century.

5.29.24

Indie bookshops are popping up nationwide, reports the Associated Press. The American Booksellers Association has roughly doubled its membership since 2016, with more than two hundred new members joining the organization in 2023 and nearly two hundred new bookstores set to open in the next two years. “Recent members include everyone from the romance-oriented That’s What She Read in Mount Ayr, Iowa; to Seven Stories in Shawnee, Kansas, managed by 15-year-old Halley Vincent; to more than 20 Black-owned shops.”

5.29.24

In the New York Times James Kirchick writes about how activism against the war in Gaza has put Jewish Americans in publishing in a difficult situation. “Over the past several months, a litmus test has emerged across wide swaths of the literary world effectively excluding Jews from full participation unless they denounce Israel. ... Censorship, thought policing and bullying are antithetical to the spirit of literature, which is best understood as an intimate conversation between the author and individual readers.”

5.28.24

Since MIT Press shifted to an open-access publishing model in 2021, “changing the entire business model behind producing and distributing” its books, it has seen more engagement with its titles from a broader audience. Inside Higher Ed unpacks the business strategy and what it might mean for other university and small presses.

5.28.24

In the Atlantic Lily Meyer considers the life of Judith Jones, whose storied career at Knopf—where she rescued The Diary of Anne Frank from the slush pile and edited acclaimed literary writers like John Updike and cookbook author Julia Child—is the subject of a new book by Sara B. Franklin, The Editor: How Publishing Legend Judith Jones Shaped Culture in America, published today by Atria Books.

5.28.24

NPR digs into the environmental impact of reading and whether print or digital books are better for the planet. “It’s not cut and dried,” Mike Berners-Lee, a British sustainability professor, tells reporter Chloe Veltman.

5.28.24

Maggie Nelson’s cult favorite poetry collection, Bluets, has been adapted for a stage production. The New York Times reviews the show at the Royal Court Theater in London, where it is running through June 29.

5.28.24

The Paris Review offers a peek inside Alice Munro’s notebooks.

5.28.24

On Literary Hub James Folta weighs in on a recent report about AI’s transformation of the media landscape and its implications for workers in book publishing. “This entire report makes clear to me that the powers that be see AI as a way to make more money by squeezing down their cost of labor.”

5.28.24

The Silent Book Club movement is going strong, with more than one thousand chapters in fifty countries gathering for quiet reading sessions, according to a recent announcement. Read about the rise of the Silent Book Club in Poets & Writers Magazine.