VIRGINIA PILOT: Literary Notes: Emergency fund set up to help artists, writers
A group of arts grant-makers is setting up rapid, unrestricted $5,000 grants for writers and artists “facing dire financial emergencies” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Artistrelief.org also will provide information, and has posted a survey in which “creative workers” can document the impact of the pandemic on them. The group says it will use the survey to inform decision-makers and craft ways to help.
The coalition includes the Academy of American Poets and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts; funders include the Ford Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Poems, prompts and solace: April is National Poetry Month. Some activities popping up online:
The Academy of American Poets is using the hashtag #ShelterInPoems to invite readers to share poems that help them find courage, solace or energy — and a few words about why. www.poets.org.
National Poetry Month: Dirty Thirty is a private Facebook group in which nearly 400 members challenge one another to write a poem a day. Anyone is welcome to join. The moderators post readings and prompts each morning.
Heather Lang-Cassera, the poet laureate of Clark County, Nev., is posting daily prompts on Twitter; people can use them to start writing a poem.
The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative in Charlottesville, is hosting #QuarantineHaikus, a series of crowdsourced, uplifting haikus to help people get through the coronavirus. Some poems will be aired on WTJU. www.thebridgepai.org. (NYT)
Writing programs also are putting classes online. Among them:
Norfolk’s Muse Writers Center. Though many courses have been canceled, many others are offered online. Subjects include flash fiction, novel writing and character construction. www.the-muse.org
The Iowa Writers Workshop. It’s made past massive open online courses available free. Topics include Power of the Pen: Identities and Social Issues in Poetry and Plays, #Flashwrite Teen Poetry, and How Writers Write Poetry. www.distancelearningiwp.org (NYT)
Barnes & Noble’s revenues have plunged despite surges in online orders, and it is furloughing workers and closing stores in a widespread sweep, the CEO told employees in a memo. In New Jersey, warehouse workers protested their conditions as hazardous. (Publishers Weekly)
Hit up your local shops. Read Books, in Virginia Beach, is doing strictly online business for now, including Reader Rescue Boxes. Others that remain open: Book Exchange (Virginia Beach and Norfolk); and Prince Books (Norfolk).
With schools closed, sales of reading and writing workbooks, flash cards, activity books and guides for at-home science experiments have soared. Sales of juvenile nonfiction in education, reference and language rose nearly 40% during the week ended March 14, according to NPD BookScan. But physical book sales across all categories fell 10%, likely from business closures and social distancing. (NYT)
The film “Artemis Fowl,” based on Eoin Colfer’s fantasy novels, will not release in theaters as planned May 29. It will debut on Disney Plus in the summer. (Shelf Awareness)
Amazon’s self-publishing arm became a haven for white supremacy: ProPublica found wide-open access and very little oversight, and a mainstream platform. (Via Publishers Weekly)
Awards: To Chloe Aridjis’ “Sea Monsters,” the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The judges called the book “a stunning exploration of the ways its brilliant teenage narrator’s interior and exterior worlds are both fluid and in opposition. This dreamlike near-fable of equal parts philosophical and intellectual vigor is a book unlike any other; a true standout and a gift for these times in which we are all craving escape.” … The Pulitzer Prizes have been postponed, from April 20 to May 4, since many of the judges — journalists — are covering the pandemic.
New and recent
“A Hundred Suns” by Karin Tanabe (St. Martin’s, 400 pp.). Indochina, 1933: When an American woman arrives in Saigon, she knows her French husband, heir to the Michelin rubber fortune, plays an important role there. But she doesn’t grasp the extent of colonial corruption and finds she may be a pawn of a friend. “A transporting historical novel” and “smart thriller,” says Bethanne Patrick. (Washington Post)
“Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief” by Claire Bidwell Smith builds on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ classic “five stages.” (Lifelong Books, 272 pp.)
“Hell and Other Destinations,” by Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state. A memoir on late-in-life work and more. (Harper, 384 pp.)