Industry & Advocacy News
May 27, 2022
In this week’s edition: Novelists Jodi Picoult and Margret Atwood use their power as storytellers to raise money for their respective causes; Florida tells publishers of social studies books to remove any text related to social justice and other “indoctrination theories”; two Belarusian publishers were arrested for opening a bookstore in Minsk; book marketing news from the U.S. Book Show; the latest literary awards; and more.
A Poetics of Risk: On Publishing My Debut Novel in My 60sLitHubLisa Russ Spaar reflects on why it took her 20 years and turning 60 to publish her first novel.
Reports of Belarusian Publishers’ DetentionsPublishing PerspectivesRadio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Belarus reported that two Belarusian publishers, Andrey Yanushkevich and Nasta Karnatskaya, were detained by police in Minsk after they opened a general bookstore. The arrests took place after two pro-government “propagandist journalists” visited the bookstore and berated staff for selling books that they deemed “inappropriate.”
Audible Releases Picoult’s Short Story Inspired by Threat to Roe v WadeThe BooksellerBest-selling novelist Jodi Picoult wrote a dystopian short story, Choice, when she heard about the leaked Supreme Court draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Audible quickly bought the story about a couple experiencing an unwanted pregnancy in a post-Roe America and rushed it into production. Picoult is donating her payment and royalties to the National Network of Abortion Funds.
Responding to Book Censorship, Atwood Auctions Fireproof ‘Handmaid’s Tale’The Washington PostMargaret Atwood is selling a special edition of A Handmaid’s Tale that is virtually impossible to burn at an upcoming Sotheby’s auction. The author will donate all proceeds to PEN America in its fight against book censorship.
How TikTok is Transforming Book MarketingPublishers WeeklyOne of the top panels at this year’s U.S. Book Fair was a discussion of how TikTok’s #BookTok community has led to a revolution in book marketing and promotion. Panelists concluded that the app seems best suited for promoting more escapist genres such as romance, scifi and fantasy.
Florida Asks Publishers to Revise More Books to Avoid ‘Indoctrination’The Washington PostThe state of Florida has told publishers of social studies textbooks that it will not purchase any books that discuss or refer to “Critical Race Theory, Social Justice, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Social and Emotional Learning, and any other unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination.”
Literary Prizes and Honors this WeekWashington Post Book ClubFrances Wilson’s Burning Man: The Trials of D.H. Lawrence won the 10th annual Plutarch Award, a $1,000 prize from the Biographers International Organization; Wesley Morgan’s The Hardest Place: The American Military Adrift in Afghanistan’s Pech Valley won the $5,000 William E. Colby Award given by the Pritzker Military Foundation; fiction writer Yiyun Li won the PEN/Malamud Award for “exceptional achievement in the short story form”; and Menachem Kaiser’s Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure won the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature from the National Library of Israel.