Macmillan Promises to Hire Latinx Staff and Publish Latinx Authors; A Politician Wants to Put Librarians in Jail | Book Pulse

Macmillan has agreed to increase Latinx representation of both authors and staff. A politician wants to put librarians in jail or fine them if they provide “age-inappropriate sexual material” to children. Edwidge Danticat is the 2020 recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Literature. Yaa Gyasi, Valeria Luiselli, and Jenny Xie are named winners of the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Literature. The Audie Awards finalists are announced. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré is the February Read with Jenna selection. Hamilton, the film, will premiere on Oct. 15, 2021.

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Diversity in Publishing, Jailing Librarians, Quitting Facebook, and Anonymous

Macmillan has agreed to increase its Latinx representation of both authors and staff. This is in response to the American Dirt controversy and the lobbying of the #DignidadLiteraria movement, which formed in its wake. Macmillan will “write up an action plan within 90 days and meet with representatives from the movement in 30 days” according to David Bowles, cofounder of the group who was a major voice in the conversation around the novel. He continued, “This is a clear victory. … We thank Macmillan for reaching out to us and asking us to come to New York and sit down with them.” The Guardian reports.

Librarians are the target -- facing fines and jail time -- of a new bill in Missouri that seeks to shut down events like Drag Queen Story Hour. The bill would make it possible to fine or jail librarians who provide “age-inappropriate sexual material …  The bill proposes that libraries create a parental review panel that would evaluate whether content provided by the library is ‘age-inappropriate sexual material.’ The panels would be made up of five residents who are not library employees.”  Thus far the bill has not made it past the first steps needed to become law. The NYT reports.

Stephen King quits Facebook, telling his 5.6 million followers to join him on Twitter and calling out Facebook’s “flood of false information allowed in ... political advertising.”

Figures in the Trump administration keep trying to out the anonymous author of A Warning (Twelve Books: Hachette), causing the agents of the author to issue a statement of who the author is not. Politico reports.


The NYT reviews My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir by Jenn Shapland (Tin House: W. W. Norton): “a hard-won inquiry into how we seek out the truth of ourselves and others in ways that often, by necessity, aren’t straightforward, that arrive in our lives in glimmering bits and shards.” Also, Everywhere You Don't Belong by Gabriel Bump (Algonquin: Workman): “This is a comically dark coming-of-age story about growing up on the South Side of Chicago, but it’s also social commentary at its finest, woven seamlessly into the work, never self-righteous or preachy.” Heathcliff Redu: A Novella and Stories by Lily Tuck (Atlantic Monthly Press): “restrained but remarkably arresting.” Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-reader by Vivian Gornick (FSG: Macmillan): “part memoiristic collage, part literary criticism, yet it is also an urgent argument that rereading offers the opportunity not just to correct and adjust one’s recollection of a book but to correct and adjust one’s perception of oneself.” The Convert by Stefan Hertmans, translated by David McKay (Pantheon: Random House): “an imaginative flight, full of darkness and light, lively characters, life-altering conflicts, violence and kindness, birth, death and, oddly, a lot of snakes. It is, as it says right there on the cover, nothing less than a novel. And it’s a really good one.” Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era by Jerry Mitchell (S. & S.): “A vivid, quick-paced, accessible account of horrific crimes.” Seduction: A History From the Enlightenment to the Present by Clement Knox (Pegasus): “Knox takes us through the lives of memorable seducers and their critics, in sometimes academic and sometimes rococo prose dappled with doges, coups de foudre, rakes, bawds, coquettes, coxcombs and procuresses — with guest appearances by members of the Frankfurt School sunning themselves in La Jolla.”

Entertainment Weekly had a quick group review of The Gimmicks by Chris McCormick (Harper), which gets an A- and the comment: “brilliant, kooky book … hardly a page will go by that you won’t marvel at McCormick’s tender, surreally comic study.” Also, The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons (Little, Brown: Hachette), which earns a B- and the line: “this love story is an often frustrating vehicle for some truly grand ideas.” Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin (Celadon: Macmillan) getting a B+ and this: “Claire’s obsessive pursuit of the truth gives Alexis Schaitkin’s debut the urgency of a thriller, but its most compelling chapters take the perspectives of peripheral characters.”

NPR reviews Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey ( Macmillan): “a lively, exquisitely crafted, and unrelentingly fun gallop through Gailey's verdant imagination.”

Briefly Noted

Edwidge Danticat is the 2020 recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Literature. Yaa Gyasi, Valeria Luiselli, and Jenny Xie are named winners of the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Literature. The prize is “awarded annually to immigrants who have made lasting contributions to American society.” It is one of the richest prizes offered to writers.

The Audie Awards finalists are announced.

The shortlists are out for the UK’s Romantic Novel Awards.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré (Dutton: Penguin) is the February Read with Jenna selection.

Tomi Adeyemi, Akwaeke Emezi, Elizabeth Acevedo, Angie Thomas, and Nic Stone feature in Elle’s story about how they are “rewriting the rules of young adult fiction.”

People highlights the forthcoming Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House), which imagines what might have happened if Hillary had not married Bill Clinton.

Entertainment Weekly features The Obama Portraits by Taína Caragol, Dorothy Moss, Richard Powell, Kim Sajet (Princeton).

USA Today spotlights Brother & Sister: A Memoir by Diane Keaton (Knopf).

Town & Country showcases Gay Like Me:  A Father Writes to His Son by Richie Jackson (Harper).

Entertainment Weekly features Open Book: A Memoir by Jessica Simpson (Dey Street Books: Harper), twice.

Salon picks “7 must-read novels to transport you in February.”

The Millions names its “Must-Read Poetry” for the month.

The NYT features “New & Noteworthy Poetry Books.”

Book Marks suggests “Five Brilliant African Novels With Strong Female Characters.”

BitchMedia suggests “ 27 Novels Feminists Should Read in 2020.”

The Washington Post outlines three “popular and controversial” audiobooks.

BuzzFeed picks “Four Books We Couldn’t Put Down Last Month.”

Paste selects the best book covers of January.

Vox interviews Anna Wiener, Uncanny Valley: A Memoir (MCD: Macmillan).

The L.A. Times interviews Sarah Rees Brennan, Fence: Striking Distance (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Hachette).

Vanity Fair interviews Sam Wasson, The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood (Flatiron Books: Macmillan; LJ starred review).

Vulture digs into the new controversy over My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (William Morrow: Harper), outlining what has been charged, said, and clarified.

George Steiner has died. The NYT has an obituary.

Authors on Air

It is Disney who will bring out Hamilton, in a deal worth 75 million writes Deadline. The movie airs in the US on Oct. 15, 2021. Grady Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires sells rights, for a possible TV series. Robin Rinaldi’s The Wild Oats Project also sells rights. Val McDermid’s The Distant Echo is headed to ITV in the UK. The US adaptation of Michael Connelly’s Lincoln Lawyer series casts up. Karin Slaughter’s Pieces of Her is set for Netflix, starring Toni Collette.

NPR interviews Marcia Chatelain, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (Liveright: W.W. Norton).

Poetry in America is coming back to PBS for season two. It will start running in April to mark National Poetry Month. Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Mark Doty, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Elizabeth Bishop are among the poets whose poems are featured.

Two Wattpad stories sell for TV: Jessica Cunsolo’s She’s With Me and H.J. Nelson’s The Last She.

LJ is hosting a free webcast with Barbara Hoffert entitled "Galleys to Grab at PLA".

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Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ’s readers’ advisory columnist, contributing The Reader’s Shelf, Book Pulse, and Wyatt’s World columns. She is the coauthor of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2019). Contact her at

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