Queen Sugar, a Brisbane Walkout, and Much More! Your Weekly Lit News Roundup by Laurel Dowswell

Author Natalie Baszile’s Queen Sugar Gets OWN Network Record


On September 6th, the debut of the series, Queen Sugar, at Oprah’s OWN attracted a huge audience and received the second best debut in the network’s history. The second night was OWN’s best ever, with 2.14 million viewers. The show, a collaboration of director Ana DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey is based on Baszile’s book. Though Baszile, as in most cases with adaptations, does not write for the series, she says, “I was never concerned because I knew I was in good hands.” Read more on the author’s take on the series here.

A Walkout at Brisbane Writers Fest

On September 8th, US author Lionel Shrivers, known for her book We Need To Talk About Kevin, prompted a walkout during her keynote address at Brisbane Writers Fest. Shrivers addressed the subject of cultural appropriation intertwined with her personal ideas of political correctness, creating reactions from some in the crowd that likened her speech to themes of colonial rule. Australian writer Yassmin Abdel-Magied, responded  with a clear voice: “It was a poisoned package wrapped up in arrogance and delivered with condescension.”

Reading Books Without Opening Them?

Researchers at MIT and Georgia Tech are working on developing an imaging system to read text without opening books. Designed to address delicate and historical texts, the system targets thin layers with an “electromagnetic radiation band between infrared and microwave light.” It is still in the prototype phase, but they are working diligently with the fairly new terahertz imaging technology. Amazing!

Jaipur Literature Fest Taking Place in Boulder, CO

nothing ever dies
Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War

On September 23-25, the festival will descend upon the city with authors, speakers, and musicians from around the world. The main Boulder Public Library is hosting the free festival, which will include a session with 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen. Change Seven contributor Lynne Weiss recently completed an astute and evocative review of Nguyen’s book Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War here. The literary festival will also feature Suketu Mehta, vocalist Amrit Kaur Lohia, and the Queen of Bhutan, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. In addition, conversations are planned to address feminism and Islam, democracy, the upcoming US election, and Brexit.



World Lit Prize News

In our ongoing dedication to celebrate the accomplishments of the global literary community, two new stories worthy of congratulations:

The three finalists have been announced for the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature: (in alphabetical order by title) Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John, Night Dancer by Chika Unigwe, and Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim. Good luck to all of you!

Ireland’s oldest literary award, the Rooney Prize of Irish Literature, has been awarded to poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa. She will receive €10,000 for the prestigious prize. The Ireland Chair of Poetry says this about her selection:

“The sureness of her touch and the skill with which she handles language and shapes her poems are almost invisible, but it is through them that she achieves the feat of making us look again at the usual and illuminates its pulsating strangeness.”

Doireann Ní Ghríofa reads a selection from her work in this video celebrating 40 years of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Congratulations!


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.


    1. Thanks for the comment, Rachel. 🙂 It’s more, as I understand, for really old, delicate texts – to help preserve them. I know I will keep opening and reading books as long they keep printing them!


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