A Literary Round-Up
Another busy week of literary news on the world wide web that I found it hard to edit my list down to just a handful of interesting items. However, in the end, I exerted self-control and only included the stories that have stayed with me, or as you have it, led me down a few rabbit holes. And here you have it, this week's collection of the weird, witty, and wonderful. Happy reading!
- We're approaching a full year of pandemic life, and here's why a lot of writers are struggling to write amid a year in lockdown.
- But Bill Gates did manage to put out a new book last week, and it's called: How To Avoid a Climate Disaster. In it he discusses new ways to understand climate action, and one of his ideas is this: If given a choice of cutting emissions directly or reducing the cost of net-zero technology, the U.S. should choose the latter. Thoughts?
- An award-winning poet, and residential school survivor who has used poetry to confront Canada’s history with Indigenous people, has been selected as Canada's ninth poet laureate. A position that Louise Bernice Halfe hopes will help her achieve her lifelong goal of seeing poetry being given the same prominence as the novel in Canada.
- A prominent Indigenous writer, who once had his work censored in Canada, has been awarded the 2021 Freedom to Read Award by the Writers Union of Canada.
- And the Writers' Trust of Canada also announced that businessman and philanthropist Jim Balsillie will fund a new $60,000 award for the best Canadian book on public policy.
- The 2018 Oscar-winning film, Green Book, has inspired a new generation of Black travel guides, and has renewed interest in the original publication. The Negro Motorist Green Book was one of the best known of the African-American travel guides. It was named after its creator, Victor H. Green, a WWI vet from New York City. Green, a Black postal carrier from Harlem who saw a need for such a guide and in 1936, published the first edition. During the days of segregation in America, it was hard to travel as an African-American, often being turned away legally from white-owned businesses, and if refused would face hostility, and even violence. The guide offered a list of resources of Black-friendly businesses where they would be welcomed, not only as a paying customer, but as a fellow human being. The guides grew in popularity by word of mouth, and were published annually until 1966, when they were no longer needed. Green himself had looked forward to that day. Sadly, he passed away in 1960 at the age of 67, four years before the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- More than 10,000 places were listed in the Green Book from 1936 to 1966, but only 3% of them are still standing. You can find some of these historical monuments that once offered safe refuge here.
- A new podcast, The Experiment: stories from an unfinished country, was launched this month by The Atlantic Magazine and WNYC Studios. The podcast discusses the great literary works that helped to shape and change the understanding of American life.
- And lastly, why do books smell the way they do?
Have a great week everyone.