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The Roundup: October 22, 2021

While we don’t usually include book reviews in Roundup, we made an exception this week for Mark McGurl’s Everything and Less: The Novel in the Age of Amazon as it explores the impact of Amazon on literature and how the “everything store” has splintered the novel form; a look at how Iole Lucchese rose to become the first woman Chair of Scholastic; Norway’s World Expression Forum works to protect free speech rights around the world; musician Solange creates a lending library for those interested in rare, out-of-print books by Black authors; and a fun quiz tests your knowledge of famous contemporary authors.

Image: The original edition of Octavia Butler’s Clay’s Ark (1984) is part of Solange’s Saint Heron lending library of rare or out-of-print works by Black authors and visual artists.

What Amazon Did to Fiction
The New York Times
In Everything and Less: The Novel in the Age of Amazon, Stanford University English Professor Mark McGurl asks: What does Amazon’s rise mean for fiction? And conversely, what can literature reveal about the world that Amazon has made? But rather than speaking to publishers about Amazon’s impact, McGurl looks to literary sources to explain the place of culture in a neoliberal economy.

Succession at Scholastic Seemed to Be a Shock, Even to the New Chairwoman
The New York Times
A lengthy report on how Iole Lucchese came to be the first woman and first member outside the founder’s family to become Chair at the world’s largest children’s and YA publisher.

Establishing a World Expression Forum to Protect Free Speech
Publishing Perspectives
Lillehammer, Norway is the home of the new World Expression Forum (WEXFO) which will serve as a formalized meeting place and provide high-level guidance and best practices to proactively respond to threats to freedom of expression in all forms, including publishing. “Our ambition is that the World Expression Forum will be as important for the development of freedom of expression as the World Economic Forum is for the development of world economics,” said WEXFO’s managing director Kristenn Einarsson.

Solange Launches Free Library of Rare, Out-of-print Books by Black Authors
Musician Solange Knowles is launching Saint Heron, “a public library of collector’s-edition books by or spotlighting Black poets, visual artists, designers, and luminaries.” Interested readers/researchers can borrow one of 50 titles, many of which are no longer in print, free of charge (shipping and return postage are covered) for up to 45 days.

Can You Guess These Famous Writers Based on Their Very First Author Bios?
To kick off your weekend, try guessing the name of the 30 famous authors (hint: at least 20 of them are still living) based on their bios from the publication of their first book.