Publishing, Politics, Toast & a Feminist Fest: Your Lit News Round Up by Laurel Dowswell

Harlequin Launches New Literary Imprint

Harlequin, the publisher of wildly popular romance novels, as well as mystery and other genres, has just announced a new literary imprint, Park Row Books. They describe the types of work that will be selected as “thought-provoking and voice-driven novels” with “mainstream appeal.” It won’t be until the summer of 2017 when the first books will be available, but the list sounds quite promising. Congrats to the first author on deck, Benjamin Ludwig!

A New Literary Movement is Born in China

Writers in China are bringing it. The reality of life in a country that has offered a cavalcade of corruption stories ripe for authors to use as inspiration has spawned a new literary movement. In a new piece in boingboing, Cory Doctorow explains that it builds on:

“the popular translations of Latin American magic realism but with Chinese characteristics, inspired by a civilization that has endured for 5,000 years with a succession of near-absolute rulers at its helm.”

Called “chaohuan” or “unreal-realism,” the new movement has four basic rules including the engagement of social issues, elements of philosophy, risk, and allegory. Read this fascinating piece for more detail.

Politics and Literature: Clinton v. Trump

Have no fear— I’m not going to start a partisan conversation, but just wanted to showcase two stories that combined politics and literature this week. Read and discern the importance/relevance of the stories to your life at your leisure/risk/amusement.

Hillary Clinton Gives The Toast a Farewell Toast

toast-1077984_1280Oh, The Toast is a ghost now. The extremely popular and engaging feminist literary website has posted its last Toast post. In a farewell bow, they invited the presumptive Democratic nominee for president to write a love letter to their readers. They even paid her their regular freelance rate of $50 and put an author bio on the site. Even though The Toast will not be publishing any new content, the site will stay up, at least for now. Cheers and farewell. Toast, you have been delicious.

P.S. You can read an incredible short story from Change Seven’s Editor-in-Chief, Sheryl Monks, at The Toast here.

The New York Times Publishes Literary Election Fiction on Trump

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the much-admired novelist and author of Americanah and Half a Yellow Sun, has penned a piece of short fiction at The New York Times. The story, “The Arrangements,”  focuses on Melania, Trump’s wife, bringing an emotional and intriguing perspective to election year politics. Adichie’s brilliant storytelling is in full form here, and I love the way she begins the story a la Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Regardless of your political leanings, this is finely-tuned fiction. The editors announced in the introduction to the piece that a second selection will be published in the fall, though the writer has yet to be announced. Stay tuned!

The Inaugural Feminist Writer’s Festival Launches Next Month in Melbourne


In conjunction with the Melbourne Writer’s Fest, a brand new Feminist Writer’s Festival will take place in the Australian city from August 26-28.  GirlTalkHQ highlights the event described on the festival site as “…intersectional and interrogative, and will bring together feminist writers, readers, speakers, thinkers and artists for a range of inclusive events, including public panels, practical workshops, and networking opportunities.”  Covering poetry, fiction, writing panels, creative nonfiction, and more, the festival is bringing authors and industry professionals across the country to celebrate the diversity and talent. Now, where is my passport…

Nikki Giovanni to Receive Prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award

The Library of Virginia has announced that poet, writer, and activist Nikki Giovanni will be honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award. Giovanni has previously received awards for her work including the Langston Hughes Medal, the Caldecott Honor Book Award, and the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award, among others. Her poem, “We Are Virginia Tech,” served as a healing creative work for the state, and the institution named her as a Virginia Woman in History in 2015. The ceremony is set to take place in October at their annual Literary Awards Celebration. Congratulations to Nikki Giovanni!

Laurel Dowswell is the Features Editor at Change Seven. Her short story “I Am the Eggman” 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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