This morning, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD evicted Occupy Wall Street protestors encamped at Zuccotti Park, reportedly destroying the 5,554-book library; Walter Isaacson's biography details the relationship between Steve Jobs and novelist Jennifer Egan; diary of a Paris Review editor; and other news.
Beginning this year New Poets for Peace, the New York City branch of Poets for Peace—a grassroots group that for the past decade has held free, donation-optional readings across the country to raise funds for international relief organizations—plans to host an event every six weeks in Manhattan, including a special reading and silent auction on March 21 in observance of the seventh anniversary of the U.S. military's invasion of Iraq.
In October MTV’s college network, mtvU, surprised some of its more literary-minded viewers when it named Iranian poet Simin Behbahani as its next poet laureate. She is only the second poet, following John Ashbery, to hold the honorary post.
Philadelphia’s fifty-four public libraries—along with its court system, rec centers, and thousands of public employees—were granted a reprieve last Thursday afternoon when the State Senate approved a $700 million relief package for the city. The funding forestalls mayor Michael Nutter’s “Plan C” budget, which, among other cuts, had called for the indefinite suspension of all library services on October 2.
In two weeks, the city that once enjoyed the largest book circulation in the world could find itself entirely without public libraries. The Free Library of Philadelphia announced earlier this month that unless the State Legislature approves the city’s budgetary requests, all branch, regional, and central libraries will close their doors and suspend programming effective Friday, October 2.
A coalition of organizations representing artists and cultural workers has entered the national debate on healthcare reform. Americans for the Arts, in conjunction with twenty other national nonprofit groups, has called on Congress to enact a public health insurance option for individual artists, along with measures making it easier for cash-strapped cultural organizations to provide adequate coverage for employees.
Two American journalists who were arrested on March 17, presumably at the border between North Korea and China, have been tried and sentenced to twelve years hard labor, North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, recently announced. The state agency accused the women, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, of “illegal border crossing” and described their punishment as “reform through labor.”
Near the end of a recent interview for the New York Times Magazine, president Barack Obama briefly mentioned that he was reading Joseph O’Neill’s PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novel Netherland (Pantheon, 2008). The interview made no mention of whether the president was enjoying the book, just that he was reading it. But from the mouth of the popular president, that was enough.
Four days after a liberal blogger and writer was stabbed at a bookstore during a reading in Beijing, the writing community here still has more questions than answers. Xu Lai is recovering, his compatriots are actively theorizing about the motives behind the incident in their blogs, and the proprietors of the bookstore-café that sponsored the event are uneasy and hoping to avoid notoriety.
The Burmese poet Saw Wai was sentenced on Monday to two years in prison for writing a love poem that contains a hidden criticism of the Burmese dictator General Than Shwe.