Saudi Novelist Turki al-Hamad Arrested for Tweets, Philip Roth is Not on Twitter, and More

by Evan Smith Rakoff

Daily News

Online Only, posted 12.26.12

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

A Saudi novelist, Turki al-Hamad, was reportedly arrested in the Saudi kingdom after questioning Islamic fundamentalism via Twitter. (Global Voices)

Self-publisher Smashwords founder Mark Coker warned writers: “In the self-publishing gold rush, more money will be made in author services than in book sales.” (GalleyCat)

Amazon is deleting reviews in violation of its new reviewing policy. For instance, authors cannot review competing authors, however customers are not required to have read a book to review it. (New York Times)

Salon gathered an impressive array of book critics—including Carolyn Kellogg, Michael Schaub, and Roxane Gay—to discuss their ten favorite books of 2012.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle selected its ten best books, including Alice Munro's Dear Life: Stories, Louise Erdrich's The Round House, and Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.

Don't be fooled, Philip Roth is not on Twitter. (New York Daily News)

"There is something about the publication of a book that feels to me like the going to the airport and being manhandled by security and then heading down the long cold lonely ramp until, at last, the book is poured into InDesign or whatever they use now, which is when they slam the pressurized doors shut and then there's nothing you can do but sit there with yourself." Awl co-owner, and former Gawker editor Choire Sicha has joined the ranks of authors.

Luckily, Choire Sicha did not make Gawker's list of "least important writers," but inexplicably, the website included former United States Poet Laureate Louise Glück. According to Gawker, "Seriously, who reads poetry?" (Harriet)