Like a lot of high school graduates, Judy Blume had planned to take a gap year — after writing her last novel. But the opportunity to open a book shop, Books & Books in Key West, was too tempting to resist. Now she’s living the dream at 78, after already living the dream as an influential and well-loved author. She wakes up “and I look to the sky, and I say, ‘whoever’s up there, I thank you for not having to write today’.” Even Judy Blume has those days.
Along with that news, we dive into varying forms of representation in literature and the perception of value for literature and writers.
- Writer, feminist, and fat activist Sarah Hollowell provides A Guide for Skinny Writers Who Want to Write Fat Characters, including the tip: Don’t avoid the word ‘fat’.
- “Far beyond all those craft considerations of how to keep your protagonist dry when it rains, this question of how the world sees literature’s value (in every genre), writers’ value, writing’s value, is about as unfocused and queasy a quandary as you’ll find in publishing.” Porter Anderson on Books’ Prices and Writing’s Value: Careful What We Asked For?
- Inspired by the current conversations around the lack of diversity in publishing, GrubStreet’s Sonya Larson conceptualized and moderated a Writers of Color Roundtable at this year’s Muse and the Marketplace writers’ conference, featuring agent Regina Brooks, writers Alexander Chee, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Mira Jacob, Jennifer De Leon, and Celeste Ng, and editor Emi Ikkanda. Attendee Swati Khurana shares the insights she gleaned from the conversation.
- Rather than boycott North Carolina, authors Garth Greenwell and Garrard Conley instead staged a literary #gayvasion against HB2, and in support of local bookstores. Follow along for their stories from the road.
- Speaking of bookstores: Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are thriving: “People are hungry for real bookstores.” It’s true. Shout-out to Dead Darlings’s beloved local independent bookstores: Brookline Booksmith, Harvard Book Store, Newtonville Books, Papercuts, Porter Square Books, and Trident Booksellers and Cafe!