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Writers' News

Asked to Delete References to Racism From Her Book, an Author Refused

nytimes.com – Monday May 8, 2023

The case, involving Scholastic, led to an outcry among authors and became an example of how the culture wars behind a surge in book banning in schools has reached publishers.

It was the most personal story that Maggie Tokuda-Hall had ever written: the tale of how her grandparents met and fell in love at an incarceration camp in Idaho that held Japanese Americans during World War II.

The book, called “Love in the Library,” is aimed at six- to nine-year-olds. Published last year by a small children’s publisher, Candlewick Press, it drew glowing reviews, but sales were modest. So Tokuda-Hall was thrilled when Scholastic, a publishing giant that distributes books and resources in 90 percent of schools, said last month it wanted to license her book for use in classrooms.

When Tokuda-Hall read the details of the offer, she felt deflated — then outraged. Scholastic wanted her to delete references to racism in America from her author’s note, in which she addresses readers directly. The decision was wrenching, Tokuda-Hall said, but she turned Scholastic down and went public, describing her predicament in a blog post and a Twitter post that drew more than five million views.

[Read the full article]

New Magazine Listing: CBeebies Art

firstwriter.com – Wednesday May 3, 2023

Packed with hours of craft fun, mini-makers can learn a new art skill every month from collaging, painting, printing, constructing, sticker art and more. With an amazing craft kit to make, plus plenty of art tips to follow and space for crafty kids to make their own creative choices too!

[See the full listing]

New Literary Agency Listing: The Theseus Agency Ltd

firstwriter.com – Wednesday May 3, 2023

We help brands and writers pin-point, protect, and harness what makes them matter to the wider world.

We manage rights, brand and dealmaking. And we do it for any idea that lives in the public imagination, whether it started life as a book or script, a product, or a person.

By bringing together management, representation, and strategy, we balance long-term goals and short-term opportunities. We map plans for the future, while seeking out and striking innovative deals in the present, knowing that each is integral to the other.

[See the full listing]

New Literary Agent Listing: Philip Gwyn Jones

firstwriter.com – Sunday April 30, 2023

Thirty-three years of experience as an editor and publisher, just over half of them in corporate publishing and just under half in independent publishing.

[See the full listing]

Jaime Green on Writing with Research

lithub.com – Saturday April 29, 2023

I realized early on that what I loved about writing nonfiction was the finding. Digging some marvel out of a dusty corner and giving it a good wipe-down, holding it up so the reader can see how it catches the light. Look at that!

The item is always in the light, not me. The thrill of the jackpot in research entranced me, as did the satisfaction of setting the artifact in the perfect frame of an essay. Instead of puzzle pieces with only one solution, the research was mosaic tiles, making a different picture if you placed them this way or that. I thought, for a while, that was my art.

But it’s a choice, of course, how visible a writer makes their research. Not the information found, but the act of finding. And not the credit and citation—that’s not a flexible requirement—but whether the sourcing lives in your prose instead of just the back of the book. You do get to decide.

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: Maria Brannan

firstwriter.com – Friday April 28, 2023

Has very wide ranging tastes in fiction and is interested in writing for adult, new adult/crossover and YA readers. She loves character-driven novels with a commercial bent that spark imagination or discussion. In particular she has a passion for genre fiction - especially fantasy with memorable characters and great world-building; horror with a unique concept or perspective; and softer, genre-crossing science fiction. She is also keen on voice-led and emotive reading group fiction; love stories and rom-coms that make you fall for both of leads; unnerving, twisty crime writing; thrillers with a great hook; and anything with a high concept or speculative edge.

[See the full listing]

I'm a poet. And I celebrate the days I write nothing

wbur.org – Friday April 28, 2023

During the 30 days of April, poetry, normally not-in-the-limelight, earns a hashtag: it’s #NationalPoetryMonth. It's as though Emily Dickinson has won a Publisher's Clearinghouse prize. There's a major uptick in poems studied, written, performed, and published as poetry becomes the focus of national educational organizations and local community arts counsels, heralded by U.S. Presidents and English language arts teachers alike.

I've been writing and publishing poetry since I was 15. It's usually a quiet gig. Come April, though, my day planner is flooded with readings, public appearances, online events, interviews and contests to establish or judge — and I'm only a state poet laureate. I can't imagine what U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limon's calendar looks like for those four weeks. All this fanfare for a genre that won't be touched by most literary agents.

[Read the full article]

Without freedom of publishing, culture withers

telegraph.co.uk – Friday April 28, 2023

In a world of ideological polarisation, books are in a hazardous position. On the Left, we have those who want to rewrite history, to vandalise our cultural heritage – as illustrated by Penguin Random House’s assault on the works of Roald Dahl, disclosed by The Telegraph in February – and to introduce a literary landscape where the experience of the individual is favoured over the unfettered imagination.

Yet while such small-mindedness is prevalent on both sides of the Atlantic, America is also seeing a rise in censorship and book banning from the Right – which, fortunately, is yet to make it to British shores. The New York Times reported that according to the American Library Association, attempted bans have seen an alarming rise, with 2,571 titles under fire in 2022, compared with a mere 223 in 2020. Many of these books are estimable, but seem to fall victim to their thematic content, which doesn’t always sit well with middle America. Third on the list, for instance, was Toni Morrison’s debut novel The Bluest Eye (first published in 1970), which not only features a racially abused black child who yearns to have blue eyes, but also contains a hefty amount of sex and violence.

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: Sabhbh Curran

firstwriter.com – Thursday April 27, 2023

I am on the hunt for literary, book club fiction and psychological suspense fiction. What I look for is well-crafted and stylish prose, complex characterisations and probably at least a hint of darkness: obsessive friendships and relationships; loneliness; trauma; dysfunctional families; the strangeness of urban life. I’m also drawn to beautifully written, researched and evoked historical fiction.

In non-fiction, I’m particularly keen to hear from chefs, mixologists and food writers but I am also interested in narrative non-fiction, history, travel writing, current affairs, popular science, psychology, MBS, fashion and popular culture. I would like to hear from non-fiction writers (especially journalists and activists) who speak to a younger audience. I have a real soft spot for anything related to art or art history, whatever the genre.

[See the full listing]

Ripley-Duggan joins The Theseus Agency as literary agent

thebookseller.com – Wednesday April 26, 2023

Louise Ripley-Duggan, founder of the the Ripley-Duggan Agency, has joined The Theseus Agency as a literary agent.

Ripley-Duggan started her career in literary management at the Blake Friedman Literary Agency after graduating from university. She set up her agency in 2019 and built up a list of clients, most notably Isabelle Schuler, for whom she secured a two-book deal with Raven in 2021 for Lady MacBethad. 

[Read the full article]

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