Lit News Roundup

We kick off this week’s roundup with hearty congratulations to the nine writers awarded the Windham-Campbell prizes, including Ecotone contributor and our Wilmington neighbor John Jeremiah Sullivan. Read his essay “La•Hwi•Ne•Ski: Career of an Eccentric Naturalist” from the Evolution issue.


In this week’s Bookends column in the New York Times Book Review, writers Mohsin Hamid and Francine Prose answer the question of whether fiction has sway in politics. All fiction is political, Hamid says, adding Fiction can say publicly what might otherwise appear unsayable, combating the coerced silence that is a favored weapon of those who have power.” Prose agrees: “Fiction can (though by no means is it required to) enable us to see the world through the eyes of people unlike ourselves and view them more empathetically; such changes may make us more likely to favor the creation of a more humane society.”

The late poet Maya Angelou will be honored with a forever stamp, the U.S. Postal Service announced earlier this week. We look forward to seeing her on future postal submissions to Ecotone!

According to the Washington Post, digital natives prefer print and still buy 87 percent of their textbooks that way. “I like the feeling of it,” Frank Schembari, a junior at American University, said of reading a print book. “I like holding it. It’s
not going off. It’s not making sounds.” Research shows that reading on the page can play a key role in comprehension. Readers remember information by its location in the layout—”that, say, the key piece of dialogue was on that page early in the book with that one long paragraph and a smudge on the corner … But that is more difficult on screens, primarily because the time we devote to reading online is usually spent scanning and skimming.”


Speaking of books, the Daily Beast ran a terrific recap of the American Booksellers Association’s annual Winter Institute, focusing on the strength of indies. Among others, the article mentions Elliott Bay Book Company, Brazos Bookstore, Graywolf Press, Lit Hub, and our NC bookseller friends Emoke B’Racz of Malaprop’s Bookstore Cafe and Kimberly Daniels of The Country Bookshop. Check it out.

Finally, today is the grand opening of Cafe Zola at Wilmington’s own Pomegranate Books! Stop by for tea and beer samples, as well as music by Andrew Anagnost and UNCW’s Griffin Limerick. Teas and coffees are 20 percent off all day.

We hope that your weekend reading includes a book set somewhere warm!