Robots and Poet Laureates Abound in March: Weekly News Round-Up by Emily Ramser

Novel Written By Robot Passes First Round in Japanese Lit Prize

The Day A Computer Writes a Novel was written by, as the title suggests, an artificial intelligence program. The novel made it through the first round of judging for the Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award. Eleven books written by robots were entered in the contest.

Stuart Kestenbaum Named Maine’s Poet Laureate

Stuart Kestenbaum, the former director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, will hold the position of Poet Laureate for five years, starting March 24. Kestenbaum has published four books of poetry, with his latest, Only Now, being released in 2014.

Literary Giant Aharon Megged Dead at 95

Aharon Megged, Israeli author and playwright, died in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, March 23 at the age of 95. Megged won the Israel Prize for literature in 2003. He is known for being one of the founders of Masa, a literary weekly, and for his 35 books. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Graphic Novel Sheds Light on Troubles in Palestine

Lelia Abdelrazaq’s new graphic novel Baddawi is a coming-of-age story about her father, who grew up in Lebanon and Beirut camps as a Palestinian refugee in the 1960s and 70s. She is presenting her novel to students in South Dakota as a part of the Middle Eastern Students Association for Diversity Awareness Month. The novel started as a web comic, but it has since evolved into a full-fledged novel. Abdelrazaq hopes that it will illuminate the continuing troubles in Palestine.

Elizabeth Woody Named Oregon’s Poet Laureate

Woody will be Oregon’s eighth Poet Laureate and is to succeed Peter Sears. Woody has published poetry, short fiction, and essays. Hand Into Stone, her first book of poetry received a 1990 American Book Award. She has since been involved in the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and the Meyer Memorial Trust, among other organizations.


Emily Ramser is an undergraduate studying English, Creative Writing, and Religion at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing, and is expected to graduate in May of 2017. Some of her inspirations include Thornton Wilder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bhanu Kapil, Andrea Gibson, Gabriel Gudding, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Gail Simone, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Check out her black out poetry collection I Forgot How to Write When They Diagnosed Me. You can find more of her work at her blog.

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