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Writers' News

This 22-year-old is trying to save us from ChatGPT before it changes writing forever

npr.org – Wednesday January 18, 2023

While many Americans were nursing hangovers on New Year's Day, 22-year-old Edward Tian was working feverishly on a new app to combat misuse of a powerful, new artificial intelligence tool called ChatGPT.

Given the buzz it's created, there's a good chance you've heard about ChatGPT. It's an interactive chatbot powered by machine learning. The technology has basically devoured the entire Internet, reading the collective works of humanity and learning patterns in language that it can recreate. All you have to do is give it a prompt, and ChatGPT can do an endless array of things: write a story in a particular style, answer a question, explain a concept, compose an email — write a college essay — and it will spit out coherent, seemingly human-written text in seconds.

The technology is both awesome — and terrifying.

"I think we're absolutely at an inflection point," Tian says. "This technology is incredible. I do believe it's the future. But, at the same time, it's like we're opening Pandora's Box. And we need safeguards to adopt it responsibly."

[Read the full article]

Carter founds new literary agency after 10 years at Janklow & Nesbit

thebookseller.com – Wednesday January 18, 2023

Literary agent Rebecca Carter has launched Rebecca Carter Literary after 10 years at Janklow & Nesbit.

The new agency, which is already up and running, is working in collaboration with PEW Literary in Soho, London, for contracts, accounting and translation rights. Carter can be contacted at rebecca@rebeccacarterliterary.com and Margaret Halton can be reached at margaret@pewliterary.com for foreign rights enquiries.

The agency has already closed two deals: with Kaiya Shang at Chatto & Windus for a new memoir by Xiaolu Guo, and with Sarah Braybrooke at Ithaka for a “powerful” narrative non-fiction book about Ukraine by the BBC’s Andrew Harding. More information on these acquisitions will be forthcoming from the publishers, The Bookseller understands. 

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: Anjanette Barr

firstwriter.com – Wednesday January 18, 2023

She loves genre and popular fiction with substance, and literary and non-fiction titles infused with living ideas that leave readers with a new desire to immerse themselves in the subject matter. In non-fiction she is looking for well-researched biography written in beautiful literary prose, popular science and other disciplines titles that make lay-people enchanted and invested in topics previously over their heads, and memoir with the ability to connect diverse readers. She's also interested in books that shed light on poverty and justice in a new way. She prefers picture books that are winsome and pleasant to read aloud. Particular interests are the exploration of culture, history, faith, myth, fine arts, and nature. She has a soft spot for gothic novels and magical realism. As a mother of four, she's is especially fond of books that can be read aloud and shared with the whole family.

[See the full listing]

New Publisher Listing: Happy Yak

firstwriter.com – Monday January 16, 2023

A publisher of innovative preschool concepts, laugh-out-loud picture books, and illustrated nonfiction titles. If you have a book idea in one of our focus areas that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear it.

[See the full listing]

George Saunders on how a slaughterhouse and some obscene poems shaped his writing

npr.org – Sunday January 15, 2023

George Saunders is one of the most acclaimed fiction writers alive, but he didn't grow up wanting to be a writer. In fact, he didn't start seriously writing short stories until he was almost 30. So kids, if you want to end up winning a MacArthur Genius Grant and the Man Booker Prize, put down the notebooks filled with angsty poems and take off the turtleneck and go work in a slaughterhouse for a while.

[Read the full article]

Writing wrongs: how true crime authors can fall victim to tragedy

theguardian.com – Saturday January 14, 2023

“Countdown to DEATH”, “MURDERED by my boyfriend”, “Falling for a KILLER” … the language of true crime lost its potential to shock long ago, yet we continue to be drawn in. High-profile cases, solved or unsolved, seem to provide a bottomless well of fresh evidence and further mystery. What drives so many of us to consume true crime is a need to understand the extremes of humanity from the safe distance of the page or headphone. But for those who write in this genre, a “safe distance” can be hard to find.

Michelle McNamara is the most recent, and most tragic example. In 2013 McNamara, a journalist and writer, took up the case of the Golden State Killer, a term she coined to bring together a series of murders committed over a wide area of California during the 1970s and 80s. She opened up a trail of cold cases, made links police had missed at the time and often felt herself close to uncovering who the prolific serial killer might have been.

[Read the full article]

My five New Year’s writing resolutions

irishtimes.com – Saturday January 14, 2023

As the word ‘resolution’ is everywhere these weeks, I looked up the meaning to see what all the fuss was about and this is what I found – ‘a firm decision to do or not to do something’. Sounds a bit Shakespearean to me. And also – ‘the act of solving a problem or finding a way to improve a difficult situation’. That sounds a bit more like it.

The difficult situation being the idea of coming up with some writing resolutions for the new year that I will actually stick to and not get bored of within a week.

[Read the full article]

New Publisher Listing: Korero Press

firstwriter.com – Friday January 13, 2023

A London-based publisher with a love of lowbrow and kustom kulture. List is mainly made up of pop culture, street art, erotica and horror titles. Publishes illustrated books only. No novels.

[See the full listing]

Free virtual writing workshops and literary events to check out this January

lithub.com – Wednesday January 11, 2023

If your New Year’s resolution was something along the lines of: attend more events or be a better literary citizen, I have good news for you! Here are a handful of virtual events you can enjoy from the comfort of your couch/bed/bathtub without spending a dime. (Because you’re probably also resolving to spend less money this year, and I feel that.)

[Read the full article]

New Publisher Listing: Sentient Publications LLC

firstwriter.com – Wednesday January 11, 2023

Looking for well-written manuscripts with something new to say, particularly in the areas of holistic health, alternative education, and embodied spirituality. Submit by email. Including information about yourself and your ability to publicize your book is helpful. If you use snail mail, include a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage if you want your submission returned. Can take several weeks or more for response.

[See the full listing]

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