Friday Lit News Roundup

With our sister magazine, Ecotone, we value a strong sense of place. In Wilmington, NC, where our imprint and magazine are based, it’s our good fortune to relish sights like this one nearly every day.


Now, for this week’s news—

We highly recommend that you make time this weekend to read Ben Fountain’s piece for the New Republic, highlighting the heartbreaking failure of Haiti’s recovery four years after the earthquake. “The day after my arrival, I was walking down a dusty, noisy street near the center of town and passed a rough-hewn cinderblock church, a cavernous space with crude turrets at the corners and iron bars across the windows. Inside, a choir composed of what must have been visiting angels was singing a Bach cantata, the angels hidden behind the walls and bars of the church but their song floating into the street like a break in the battle, a cool cloth laid over a fevered brow. And that’s how Haiti breaks your heart, with these hits of grace and beauty constantly sailing out of the wreckage.”

The media just can’t get enough of Astonish Me author Maggie Shipstead; this week her new novel is reviewed in Entertainment Weekly, the Washington Post, SFGate, and TIME.

If you missed his interview last Saturday evening, click through to listen to Astoria to Zion contributor Robert Olen Butler talk to hosts Catherine Cuellar and Randy Gordon on The Writers Studio.

Thanks to the Washington Independent Review of Books for including Astoria to Zion in its Best Books for April list.

Congrats to our friends at Sarabande Books on the opening of a second office in New York City. Located in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, it will be managed by Kristen Radtke, Director of Marketing and Publicity.

And, finally, we join readers and writers around the world in mourning Colombian novelist and master of magic realism Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose One Hundred Years of Solitude established him as a giant of 20th-century literature.

Stay tuned next week, when we’ll finally unveil a few new blog departments we’ve been curating behind the scenes for a while now. On Location will showcase our favorite authors’ writing studios and other spaces that inspire them, and in Seven Questions, they’ll tell us which fictional character they’d go on a road trip with, and where, as well as the book they bought for its cover, among many other things.

And, as always, we’ll return on Monday to unveil a beautiful digital broadside, and on Wednesday, we’ll introduce another favorite from Astoria to Zion.

Until then, have a wonderful weekend, and happy reading. What’s on our nightstand? The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison, published by our friends at Graywolf Press and winner of their nonfiction prize.