Jane Austen, African Literature, Brave New Voices & More! Your Weekly Lit News Roundup by Laurel Dowswell

Sensational Jane Austen Letter up for Auction

On July 11, a letter Jane Austen composed in 1812 will go up for auction. Sent to her niece, Anna Lefroy, Austen parodies the style of the 1806 novel by Rachel Hunter, Lady Maclairn, the Victim of Villany which the two had recently read. The “gleeful spoofing” in the letter lends some insight into Austen’s feelings about the genre, leading specialists to think she may not have been as disdainful as her novel Northanger Abbey suggests.

Print Sales Continue to Rise

The sales of print units are up 3% in the first half of this year as compared to the same time in 2016. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss, the backlist fav, has sold the most titles so far this year at more than 480,000 units. Adult fiction “inched” ahead 1% of last year, led by two backlist titles: A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.


Sudanese Writer Bushra al-Fadil Encouraging Support of African Literature

The winner of the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing visited London to receive the award and spoke about the importance of more libraries and support of literature in Africa. He says in this article from Quartz Africa, “Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa could be leading pillars in promoting the cultural industry on the continent because of their geographic breadth and their large populations.”

Teen Poets Speaking Out for Change

The Goodman Youth Poetry Ensemble are four Chicago high school students that perform and tour as “Team Good Eddy.” They speak out as poets and social activists and will be participating in the national slam poetry festival Brave New Voices in San Francisco from July 19-22.

But wait! There’s more…

Oh, Google…is this the future of journalism?

How bad is neural network poetry?

Try these digital tools if you are writing a book. 

Our Video of the Week is from English PEN and the young poets of the Brave New Voices Programme, in collaboration with Creative Connection,  uploaded on July 5. English PEN is “the founding centre of a worldwide writers’ association with 145 centres in more than 100 countries,” and campaigns “to defend writers and readers in the UK and around the world whose human right to freedom of expression is at risk.”



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, a lot of red wine, and the spectrum of sexuality. Follow her on Twitter @laurels_idea

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