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Writers' News

Publishers scared of cancel culture made me rewrite my book, says Anthony Horowitz – Sunday May 29, 2022

Anthony Horowitz was told to rewrite his latest children’s book and remove jokes because publishers were terrified of cancel culture, he has claimed.

The best-selling author said children’s publishers were “more scared than anybody” about causing offence, and he was given a list of things he “could and couldn’t say” regarding gender or ethnicity.

He suggested that the industry take inspiration from Ricky Gervais, who has defied the “shrill voices” of Twitter to make jokes about the trans debate.

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Maggie Shipstead on Dealing with Mistakes in Writing – Sunday May 29, 2022

Maybe five years ago I read a novel in which a man drowns in a lake, and, a few minutes later, his body is found floating on the water’s surface.

If any of my writer friends are reading this, they’re probably groaning because they’ve heard me harp on this example before. What can I say? Sometimes I’m irritating and pedantic. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t make any sense for that body to float. If bodies were inherently buoyant, no one would ever drown. For that scenario to work, the man’s lungs would have filled with water, pulling him under and killing him, and then, almost immediately, something — the condition of death? — would have sent his body rocketing back up to the surface, where, despite being heavier now than before, he floated. No. Bodies float because gases of decomposition eventually lift them. The process takes time: at least a couple days even in relatively warm, shallow water, longer in colder, deeper water. Many bodies never surface at all. But the image of the floating body is pervasive in our culture and our entertainment (“We’ve got a floater,” says one TV cop to another), so familiar that a writer may skip directly from drowning to floating without stopping to think.

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How the Publishing World Is Muscling In on Hollywood Deals: For Authors, “The Future Is Multihyphenate” – Thursday May 26, 2022

his June, when the Netflix film Spiderhead hits the streamer, something revolutionary will happen — but blink and you’ll miss it. Before the opening scene of the dystopian drama starring Miles Teller, Chris Hemsworth and Jurnee Smollett, the New Yorker logo will appear on the screen. The script is an adaptation of a 2010 George Saunders short story, published in the magazine under the title “Escape From Spiderhead.” The film was produced by Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE), one of the first major projects under the group’s new president, studio veteran Agnes Chu.

Spiderhead’s path to the screen is part of a new push to rethink the traditional page-to-screen pipeline — which insiders on both ends of the dealmaking equation say is meant to bolster the authors behind the IP Hollywood covets.

For decades, book agents would identify the upcoming titles on their publishing slates best fit for film or television, pitch to counterparts at the major Hollywood agencies, and then sit back as producers and film creatives picked the most promising projects and shepherded them the rest of way. “There had to be a better way to get authors a place at the table,” says Todd Shuster, co-CEO of Aevitas Creative. The lit agency has developed several pipelines to secure more autonomy for authors and their representation, including a first-look deal with Anonymous Content that allows literary agents to serve as producers. One fruit of this union was the 2020 Netflix movie The Midnight Sky, adapted from the novel Good Morning, Midnight by Aevitas literary agency client Lily Brooks-Dalton. Directed by and starring George Clooney, the film reached Netflix’s No. 1 spot in 77 countries, giving Shuster, who has a producer credit, the confidence that the model could work.

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Morton Janklow, Groundbreaking Literary Agent, Dies at 91 – Thursday May 26, 2022

Morton Janklow, one of the nation’s most powerful literary agents who elevated the power of the profession in advocating for authors, died Wednesday morning of heart failure at his home in Water Mill, N.Y.. He was 91 years old.

Janklow’s clients included the likes of Sidney Poitier, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel, Jackie Collins, Nancy Reagan and Ted Turner. His death was confirmed by publicist Paul Bogards to The New York Times.

Janklow began his career as a literary agent in 1972 when his client and friend William Safire asked him to help with a book he was writing about President Richard Nixon. The corporate attorney educated himself on the publishing industry and successfully negotiated a contract for Safire’s book. After the Watergate scandal broke, the book’s publisher attempted to back out of the $250,000 contract.

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New Imprint Listing: Boathooks Books – Thursday May 26, 2022

Publishes books on boating of all kinds.

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The one line that's missing from all the writing advice – Tuesday May 24, 2022

I started writing as an adult in 2009. I’d scribbled many poems and “novels” as a child and teen, but I had a West Wing-based epiphany in my early 30s (it’s a long story) and started writing seriously then.

Alongside the joy of getting to know my characters and daydreaming a plot into existence, I also read a lot of books on the craft of writing. Studying, I could do. I know school isn’t for everyone, and that I benefit from a lot of white and neurotypical privilege, but I loved school. Looking back now, I think part of what I loved about it was the (mostly) reliable nature of it. I grew up in Belgium in the 1980s, and there was a lot of listening to teachers, making notes neatly in my exercise books, learning things by heart for tests and reciting them at the chalkboard. I was good at following rules, and I liked the fact that a certain kind of input meant a certain kind of mostly predictable output.

I knew, of course, that art is less predictable than that. It was also apparent early on as I started writing that I thought outside the box of what fiction, at least British and American fiction, requires to be considered publishable. But still, if pressed, I would have said that learning my craft and persevering would eventually result in publication. I knew that it might be a long road (five years, maybe!), but if I learned about how to submit to agents, I would eventually find my place in the publishing world.

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New Literary Agent Listing: Maria Bell – Tuesday May 24, 2022

Drawn to adult literary fiction and YA that break conventions in form, voice and character. In both fiction and nonfiction, she’s partial to stories involving the natural world, queer identities, baseball, and all those that grapple with conflicts and truths from which most of us instinctively distance ourselves.

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Little magazines in Instagram era, a tete-a-tete with independent writer Subhankar Das – Monday May 23, 2022

Welcome to the world of little magazines, mimeo editors, outlaw poets, chapbooks and experimental writing. IBNS caught up with Subhankar Das, an independent writer, literary activist, poet, blogger, publisher and film producer, to answer some of the questions pertaining to the future of little magazines and small publications in the era of Instagram.

The Little Magazines movement is a world of its own where unknown writers, unpublished poets and unsung litterateurs and activists share their literary exertions and thoughts with well-knit think alike groups spread across the globe.

But how is this child of the mimeograph revolution of the 60s and 70s coping up with the ever-evolving digital universe where the rules of publication and the way we share information have vastly changed. Is digital revolution an existential threat to Little Magazines or will it bring boundless opportunities and unlock limitless creativity?

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A Conversation About Music, Memory, and the Topographies of Writing – Saturday May 21, 2022

In November of 2019, just months before COVID hit, I met Mesha Maren in person at the Miami Book Festival, in what would turn out to be my last in-person event for a while. Both of us had debut novels out that year, and a few months prior to that meeting Mesha had interviewed me for the Chicago Review of Books. Having a debut novel when you aren’t friends with many writers or people in publishing can be daunting and lonely if you’re on tour, so I was delighted when Mesha reached out to meet up. While having dinner, I learned that Mesha had written a novel that took place on the border, and I don’t recall whether I shared that I was finishing what would become my story collection Valleyesque.

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TRU Community Gathering Via Zoom - A Conversation With Literary Agents: How Shutdown Has Changed The Business – Saturday May 21, 2022

A dependable haven for artists in isolation, Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is now into its second year of non-stop weekly Community Gatherings this Friday, having offered to date over 100 conversations and unlimited camaraderie since April 17, 2020. TRU hosts their Community Gatherings every Friday at 5pm ET via Zoom, to explore the creation of art and theater in the time of COVID-19, and these crucial conversations continue going forward as theater reopens. Ask questions, bring answers, be part of a community - it's an opportunity to network with theater professionals and talk about how we kept theater alive during shutdown, and what we are doing now, going forward.

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