Doubleday pulled a Beyonce and published Colson Whitehead’s latest book, The Underground Railroad, a month early. Oprah chose Whitehead’s book for her book club, and Doubleday “secretly started shipping out 200,000 copies in anticipation of the announcement.” You can also read a review from Michiko Kakutani at the New York Times.
Millions contributor Michelle Dean wrote for The New Yorker's Page Turner about Opal Whiteley, whose childhood diary--written when she was six on scraps of paper--was published over 100 years ago to meet with acclaim, then controversy, and then obscurity. If girl prodigies interest you as much as they do me, you'll also love this 2010 piece from Lapham's Quarterly, on Barbara Newhall Follett.
"For a novelist, writing letters is writing that is not writing," Ed Park says of P.G. Wodehouse's collected correspondence, A Life in Letters. The Year in Reading alum goes on to note that "a collection of letters is the unconscious narrative the author generates over the years."
Book to movie news: Soon to hit theaters is a big-screen take on Allen Ginsburg's Howl, focusing on the obscenity trial Ginsberg faced after the publication of the poem and starring James Franco as Ginsberg (alongside Jon Hamm and Jeff Daniels). (The trailer). The film includes an animation of the poem itself by illustrator Eric Drooker. Art from the animation has been collected in a new book under the title Howl: A Graphic Novel.
Is it another Beyoncé/Lemonade thinkpiece? Yes. Is it also more than that and worth your time to read? Yes. Terryn Hall at The Rumpus on Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, and being a black woman in the South: "Although Beyoncé is not ‘literary’ in a traditional sense, she’s using her power to usher in new black poetic (Warsan Shire) musical (Ibeyi, Chloe and Halley Bailey) and modeling (Jourdan Dunn, Zendaya) talent in a manner similar to that of the literary patrons of yesteryear."
Check it out: Creative Nonfiction and Writing Away the Stigma are teaming up to put on a six-part writing workshop and fellowship for individuals who have been affected by mental illness. Twelve writers will have the opportunity to study, free of charge, with the founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction magazine, Lee Gutkind. Submissions are accepted throughout the month of November.