US magazine Poetry faces outcry for publishing work by sex offender
theguardian.com – Wednesday February 3, 2021
The US’s prestigious Poetry magazine has doubled down on its decision to publish a poem by a convicted sex offender as part of a special edition dedicated to incarcerated poets, telling critics that “it is not our role to further judge or punish [people] as a result of their criminal convictions”.
The magazine, which has been running since 1912 and is published by the Poetry Foundation, has just released its new issue focusing on work by “currently and formerly incarcerated people”, their families and prison workers. It includes a poem by Kirk Nesset, a former professor of English literature who was released from prison last year after serving time for possessing, receiving and distributing child sexual abuse images in 2014. The investigation found Nesset in possession of more than half a million images and films of child sexual abuse.
Purdy launches Two Piers Literary Agency
thebookseller.com – Tuesday February 2, 2021
A Brighton-based literary agency launches this week, headed by former Curtis Brown editor Rufus Purdy.
Two Piers Literary Agency will represent writers from all over the world and sell their work into the UK, US and international territories.
While at Curtis Brown, Purdy (pictured) worked on Alex Gerlis’ bestselling spy novels The Best of Our Spies, The Swiss Spy and Vienna Spies, and songwriter Chris Difford’s memoir Some Fantastic Place. In 2018, Purdy set up the Write Here novel-writing school, which, until the pandemic, ran affordable novel-writing courses in cities across the UK. The company now runs a £99 online novel-writing course, as well as offering editorial services.
Calling all Young Writers: The Page Turner Awards
firstwriter.com – Tuesday February 2, 2021
Page Turner Awards is inviting young aspiring writers and budding authors in the students’ community to join their community of writers and get involved in the Page Turner Awards 2021.
The Page Turner Awards is an inclusive writing and book awards with one goal – “to change the lives of as many writers as possible. While traditional writing awards are often steeped in elitism, the Page Turner Awards passionately believes that talented writers can be from any background, age, race, religion, or interest.
The Page Turner Awards five award categories consist of a Writing Award, Young Writer Award, Writing Mentorship Award, Book Award and Screenplay Award.
Students contain talented writers and undiscovered literary gems. Whether you have a guide to making the most out of your first year at university, a gasp-inducing thriller or the next-big-thing comedy screenplay, Page Turner Awards can’t wait to pass your story to their panel of influential literary judges, publishers and film producers.
February Is National Haiku Writing Month
kjzz.org – Monday February 1, 2021
According to Michael Dylan Welch, “The weight and the length of what you’re writing in 17 syllables in English is too long compared to the meaning and the content of the Japanese haiku. It’s not easier. It’s actually a harder challenge to write a shorter poem than 17 syllables. Some people say they like the challenge of counting the syllables, but it’s the most trivial of haiku’s challenges.”
He’s a technical writer by trade who hails from Washington. Every February for the last 11 years, he’s engaged haiku poets around the world on social media with NaHaiWriMo and chose this month because it’s the shortest, just as haiku is the shortest for of poetry.
Authors Guild urges DOJ to stop Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House merger
latimes.com – Sunday January 31, 2021
Several writers’ groups and organizations are calling on the government to stop one of the biggest publishing deals in recent history.
On Friday, the Authors Guild and the National Writers Union, along with four other writers’ groups and the nonprofit Open Markets Institute, sent a letter urging the Department of Justice to block the imminent publishing deal between literary giants Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House, the third and first largest trade book publishers in the country.
“The deal would bring well more than half of key U.S. book markets under the control of a single corporation, which poses a variety of potential threats to freedom of speech and democracy in the United States,” the letter stated. “The takeover falls clearly within the standard of illegality set by the Clayton Act and should be summarily rejected.”
The Clayton Antitrust Act, passed in 1914, defines unethical business practices like forming monopolies and colluding to fix prices. Antitrust laws generally require companies to report large deals to the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission for a review, without which they cannot be finalized.
Granite Noir: Stellar line-up in store as Aberdeen’s crime writing festival goes online
pressandjournal.co.uk – Saturday January 30, 2021
Granite Noir has unveiled a glittering line-up of world-class crime writers – including Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Jo Nesbo and David Baldacci – when it returns next month.
While Aberdeen’s award-winning crime writing festival is moving online due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers say its mix of live streaming and pre-recorded messages offers the best of Granite Noir and hope it can reach an even wider audience when it runs from February 19 to February 21.
Jane Spiers, chief executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts, which produces the event, said: “Obviously this year is a bit different, being online, but we are still bringing the best of Granite Noir, the essence of Granite Noir.
Have a story to tell? Enter the Telegraph's Teen Writing Competition
telegraph.co.uk – Saturday January 30, 2021
Have you always wanted to pen a short story or write about an experience you have had?
The Telegraph is launching a writing competition inviting its younger readers – aged 13-18 – to submit a 500-word piece of fiction or non-fiction, a short story, or poem. The theme of the competition is Lockdown. Please feel free to interpret that theme as creatively as you like.
Whether you're only starting your writing journey, or you've already honed and established your skills, this competition is open to young writers of all abilities.
4 Ways to Always Have Fresh Writing Ideas
forge.medium.com – Thursday January 28, 2021
Often, when people say, “I don’t know what to write,” they really mean one of two things: They haven’t spent enough time formulating their ideas, or they’re trying to write something they don’t really believe in.
Many years ago, I started writing fiction — or rather, I tried to start writing fiction. My attempts never amounted to anything, and for years, I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t until I read an essay on writing by Arthur Schopenhauer, the German pessimist, that it finally clicked. “There are above all two kinds of writers,” he wrote: “those who write for the sake of what they have to say and those who write for the sake of writing. The former have had ideas or experiences which seem to them worth communicating; the latter need money and that is why they write — for money.” (I think “money” can be substituted with “any external rewards” here.)
You know writing from that second category when you see it — whether it’s a news feature, a personal essay, or a blog post. It’s the kind that seems pointless, devoid of energy or care, as if the writer was not considering at all what the reader might want or need to get out of it. When I read this kind of writing I think, Why write this at all?
Agent Fired from Literary Agency for Using Parler and Gab
newsweek.com – Wednesday January 27, 2021
The president of a literary agency based in New York City said Monday on Twitter that one of the agency's employees was terminated after her use of conservative social media sites Parler and Gab was discovered.
Colleen Oefelein, who identified herself on Twitter as an associate literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, appeared to confirm her termination in a tweet on Monday morning.
"Well thanks Twitter and @JDLitAgency," Oefelein wrote. "I just got fired because I'm a Christian and a conservative."
Amazon.com and 'Big Five' publishers accused of ebook price-fixing
theguardian.com – Saturday January 16, 2021
Amazon.com and the “Big Five” publishers – Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster – have been accused of colluding to fix ebook prices, in a class action filed by the law firm that successfully sued Apple and the Big Five on the same charge 10 years ago.
The lawsuit, filed in district court in New York on Thursday by Seattle firm Hagens Berman, on behalf of consumers in several US states, names the retail giant as the sole defendant but labels the publishers “co-conspirators”. It alleges Amazon and the publishers use a clause known as “Most Favored Nations” (MFN) to keep ebook prices artificially high, by agreeing to price restraints that force consumers to pay more for ebooks purchased on retail platforms that are not Amazon.com.
The lawsuit claims that almost 90% of all ebooks sold in the US are sold on Amazon, in addition to over 50% of all print books. The suit alleges that ebook prices dropped in 2013 and 2014 after Apple and major publishers were successfully sued for conspiring to set ebook prices, but rose again after Amazon renegotiated their contracts in 2015.