AWP, VIDA, and SATAN: Your Weekly Lit News Roundup by Laurel Dowswell


AWP Descends Upon L.A.

Thousands of writers, editors, teachers, publishers and others keen for the written word converged in Los Angeles, California, from March 30th to April 2nd for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs annual conference. Claudia Rankine was the keynote speaker on Thursday night highlighting the four days of networking, panels, and bookselling.

Um…yes. There is a Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities.

On April 1st, the Freedom from Religion Foundation provided literature to middle and high school students in Delta County, Colorado.

The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities was one of a number of pieces available to students (including pamphlets entitled Why Jesus?  and What is a Freethinker? ) to pick up from tables in the rural district.

This event was scheduled after the group petitioned the district due to a previous activity when Bibles had been distributed to children at the school during a regular school day.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters Announces 2016 Literature Award Winners

Prizes given to writers ranging from $5,000 to $200,000 were announced in a press release on 3/22/16 with a grand total of $550,000 given to both emerging and established writers in fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry.  We are a little late on this one, but congratulations to all the winners!

Eat Your Books!

No, that’s not a better-late-than-never April Fool’s headline. From Ocean City, New Jersey, to Topeka, Kansas, and around the globe, a number of cities hosted an Edible Book Festival this week. Participants enjoyed all kinds of dishes, including themed cakes, that represented their favorite classic and contemporary literature.

The VIDA Count is Out

The numbers are in folks.

In VIDA’s continuing mission to document and support the voice of women in the literary arts, 2015 didn’t look so good unless you were a straight white cis male.

In this year’s report, The Year of Intersectional Thinking, race and ethnicity, gender, sexual identity and ability were examined. Thank you to VIDA for continuing to promote equity in top tier journals.

Gay Talese Incites Controversy at Journalism Conference

American author Gay Talese ignited a social media frenzy over the weekend after remarks he made at a journalism conference at Boston University. After a question asking him about inspiring women writers, Talese reportedly could not or would not name any female writers of his generation he admired.

Russia and China are Exchanging Literature

In a recent report by Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People’s Republic of China, a new program built upon historic exchanges, has the goal of each country translating 100 books encompassing traditional and contemporary literature, philosophy, and humanitarian issues, among other selections.

Laurel Dowswell  is the Features Editor at Change Seven. Her short story “I Am theEggman” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She was a copy editor for an independent feminist newspaper in Santa Fe, NM, after being raised and educated in Florida. She lives and writes in Georgia, just outside of Atlanta with her son. She is currently working on a novel filled with oil paintings, family drama, and the spectrum of sexuality. Follow her on twitter @laurels_idea.

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