Literary news abounds this week in the most unexpected places.
— Since it’s women’s history month, I thought you may be interested in the latest tell-all book about one of literature’s greatest heroines. Yes, it’s been a long time coming, but finally someone has dared to expose the darker side of … Nancy Drew. The Dark Side of River Heights: Observations of the Untold and the Unflattering seeks to uncover those burning questions about the popular girl detective.
— Speaking of women’s history month, what better time for the Orange prize for women’s fiction to announce their longlist of novels? In the running with more established writers, such as Joyce Carol Oates, are many first time novelists who’ve turned to writing later in life. Like 49-year-old Joolz Denby, tattooed and pierced former “biker chick” (she married into the “Satan’s Slaves” biker gang). Her novel, Billie Morgan is one of the diverse field of 20 competing for the UK’s largest annual award for a novel.
— Making it official … The Oxford English Dictionary announced a list of new entries last week. New inductees to the OED include: scrunchie, Deadhead, ‘fro, uni-brow and my personal favorite, creepy-peepy. Welcome to the world, newly-recognized words, may you go forth and prosper.
— Get a sneak peak for a good cause: Sixteen leading writers have come together in an anthology titled New Beginnings. The anthology features the first chapter of books not yet available from notables such as Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Paul Coelho and Nick Hornby. The proceeds from this collection of “coming attractions” will go to the Save the Children Tsunami Relief Fund.
— Extra! Extra! Read all about … poetry? That’s Ted Kooser’s plan. The current US Poet Laureate’s American Life in Poetry project kicks off this month. The initiative offers local papers free columns that will feature a brief introduction by Kooser and selected poems by living Americans. We can only hope that this will keep poetry in the news for a long time to come. Kooser also offers advice for aspiring poets in his latest book, The Poetry Home Repair Manual. In this how-to guide, he encourages the everyday exploration of poetry while demystifying the shadows that sometimes surround it.
— The saloon that Kerouac called “the end of my quest for an ideal bar” has been reopened by the Governor of Montana. The M&M Cigar Store had its liquor license hand delivered by Gov. Brian Schweitzer. The Associated Press reports: “It’s great to have it open again,” Schweitzer said after throwing back a shot of scotch. “May she never close.” I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely my kind of Governor.
— Proving once again that there’s a market for everyone, a Wisconsin-based website has put out a call for submissions. For cheese haiku. Wow.
— First there was the opera about Verlaine and Rimbaud. Then, we heard about the Beat-tribute stage production of dance and music known as Dream Machine. Now, in what seems to be an unprecedented sign of the the apocalypse, we’ve heard that the much anticipated musical production of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is going full steam ahead, but has been moved from London to Toronto. It’s been reported that the stage plans for the “three-hour show that marries theatre, physical theatre and music” includes three turntables and sixteen elevators. The repeated questions of “why?” have yet to be answered.
— And finally … what would a week at LitKicks be if we didn’t (once again) mention the Da Vinci Code? It seems the Roman Catholic Church has finally offered its response to Dan Brown’s best-selling brand of blasphemy. Tell me … what would Tom Hanks do?
Those are just some of the things that we’ve been talking about lately. We’d love to hear your comments on these stories and any others you’d like to share. What’s the literary buzz in your world? Have you heard of any news from your favorite author? Tell us what in the world of literature is making you do a double-take.