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1. Author Margaret Forster Has Died

Author Margaret Forster has died at the age of 77, according to a report on BBC.com.

The award-winning novelist, known for Hidden Lives, Georgy Girl, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, and a biography about Daphne du Maurier, succumbed to cancer on Monday in London. BBC has more:

Forster died on Monday morning at the Marie Curie Hospice in north London.

Confirming her death, the couple’s daughter Caitlin Davies wrote on Twitter: “Our lovely mum Margaret Forster died this morning. Her books will live on.”

Born in 1938, Forster attended the Carlisle and County High School for Girls and then won an Open Scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford.

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2. Fans Petition For a Permanent Terry Pratchett Statue in England

terry pratchettEmily Brand, a fan of Sir Terry Pratchett, has launched a Change.org petition. She hopes to encourage the city council of Salisbury to install a permanent statue of the late fantasy fiction author.

Prior to his passing, Pratchett resided in this English town for more than two decades. So far, the petition has drawn more than 7,000 signatures.

Some of the supporters behind this project include Pratchett’s family and Pratchett’s longtime friend Neil GaimanBBC News reports that “a spokeswoman for the family said he would ‘undoubtedly’ have found the amusement ‘in almost any statue.'” Gaiman wrote a post about this venture on Facebook and encouraged his followers to sign the petition.

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3. Winners Announced for the 2016 NAACP Image Awards

Image Awards (GalleyCat)The winners have been announced for this year’s NAACP Image Awards. The organization honored entertainers, filmmakers, movies, television shows, music, writers and works of literature.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the winners were revealed during a ceremony hosted by actor Anthony Anderson. We’ve posted the full list of winning book titles below. (via The Wrap)

2016 NAACP Image Award Winners (Literature Categories)

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction: Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murrary (Touchstone)

Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction: Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga by Pamela Newkirk (HarperCollins/Amistad)

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author: The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Little, Brown & Company)

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/ Auto-Biography: Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional: Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family by Alice Randall & Caroline Randall Williams (Clarkson Potter)

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry: How to Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes (Penguin Books / Penguin Random House)

Outstanding Literary Work – Children: Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Jamey Christoph (Albert Whitman & Company)

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens: X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz & Kekla Magoon (Candlewick Press)

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4. Ishmael Beah Lands Two-Book Deal

Ishmael Beah 200 (GalleyCat)Ishmael Beah has signed a deal with the Penguin Random House imprint, Riverhead Books. He plans to write a novel and a memoir.

According to the press release, the novel, entitled The Lively Skeletons of Every Season, “presents the riveting story of five young people living as an ad hoc family in an abandoned airplane in an unnamed African country, attempting to understand its colonized past and to navigate its rapidly shifting future.” The memoir, Beah’s second, will chronicle his “transition to life in America” following his move from Sierra Leone.

Rebecca Saletan, a vice president and editorial director at the imprint, will edit both of Beah’s manuscripts. At this point in time, the publisher has not announced the release dates for either of these projects. (Photo Credit: John Madere)

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5. Cover Unveiled for Box Brown’s Tetris Graphic Novel

Tetris Graphic Novel (GalleyCat)

The cover has been unveiled for Box Brown’s forthcoming graphic novel, Tetris: The Games People Play. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?

According to Kotaku, this project will focus on Alexey Pajitnov’s beloved video game. First Second Books has scheduled the publication date for October 2016. (via Box Brown’s Blog)

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6. Kiera Cass and Brandon Sanderson Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

Siren Cover (GalleyCat)We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending Jan. 31, 2016–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #2 in Young Adult) The Siren by Kiera Cass: “Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human—a kind, handsome boy who’s everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger…but Kahlen can’t bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?” (Jan. 2016)

(Debuted at #9 in Children’s Illustrated) Ollie’s Valentine by Olivier Dunrea: “Ollie is looking. Looking for a valentine. Gossie, Gertie, Peedie, and BooBoo all have valentines, but Ollie wonders who will be his. His search leads him to a special valentine of his very own—a surprise for Ollie and readers!” (Dec. 2015)

(Debuted at #10 in Hardcover Fiction) The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson: “The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.” (Jan. 2016)

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7. ‘Mrs Ribeiro’ Poetry Video Goes Viral

Sarah Kay, a spoken word poet and the founder of the Project V.O.I.C.E. organization, honored an inspirational teacher by crafting a piece called “Mrs Ribeiro.” The video embedded above features her performance at Inner City Arts in Los Angeles.

The poem can be found in Kay’s 2014 collection, No Matter the Wreckage. To check out more of her work, click on these links to listen to a reading of  The Typea reading of Montauk, and her talk on the TED 2011 stage.

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8. Spiderwick Chronicles Art Exhibit on View at the Jean Cocteau Cinema

The Spiderwick Chronicles (GalleyCat)The Jean Cocteau Cinema will host an art exhibit on The Spiderwick Chronicles series. It will showcase illustration pieces by Tony DiTerlizzi.

The artwork will be on display throughout the month of February. In addition to this exhibit, the cinema will also host screenings of the 2008 film adaptation.

On March 1, DiTerlizzi will appear and sit down for a conversation with George R.R. Martin. Martin, the author behind the the A Song of Ice and Fire series, is actually the owner of this Santa Fe-based movie theater.

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9. Remembering Francisco Alarcón

Beloved poet and educator Francisco X. Francisco X Alarcon Alarcón passed away on January 15, 2016. Francisco was a prolific writer of poetry for children and adults. Born in California and raised in Mexico, Francisco’s poems explore his Chicano identity and celebrate the double joy of being a poet in two languages. His awards include multiple Pura Belpré Honors as well the Chicano Literary Prize and the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. His passing is a great loss to the world of Latino literature.

We asked some of the authors and artists who knew Francisco to share their memories of him:

Jorge ArguetaJorge Argueta, Author

I met Francisco X. Alarcón in the early 80’s, shortly after I arrived to San Francisco from El Salvador. Panchito was already a well known poet. He was a member of the Roque Dalton Cultural Brigade along with other poets, Alejandro Murguia (founder of the Brigade and current Poet Laureate of San Francisco), the current Poet Laureate of the United States, Juan Felipe Herrera, Jack Hirschman, Barbara Paschke and David Volpendesta.

I met Francisco at the place where most of us gathered, Café La Boheme in San Francisco’s Mission District. Francisco baptized this coffee house “The Cathredal of poetry.”

Francisco teaching young people.
Francisco teaching young people.

I traveled with Francisco four times to El Salvador, to participate in the Annual International Children’s Poetry Festival “Manyula.” Francisco was so happy to contribute. He shared with me the vision that through the gentle power of poetry we could help Salvadoran children and youth stay away from violence and have hope for a better future. Francisco did readings, lectures and poetry workshops for children, youth and teachers.

Years earlier he helped me organize the poems I would publish in my first children’s poetry book, A Movie in my Pillow. I will always be thankful to Francisco for his guidance and recommendations for this book. He truly loved El Salvador, its people, landscape and food.

Francisco at Monsignor Romero's Crypt
Francisco at Monsignor Romero’s Crypt

One day on a break from the festival we walked the short distance from the library, where the festival is held to the San Salvador Cathedral to pay a visit to Monsignor Romero’s crypt (El Salvador’s beloved priest who was assassinated by right wing death squads in the 80’s). Francisco was deeply moved to see his tomb and wrote a poem about this special visit. He shed tears and said to me, “I understand why El Salvador must continue to struggle for justice.”

That evening a wonderful full moon shone in the Salvadoran sky. Francisco laughed with his loud magical smile and said, “Here even the moon is a pupusa*.”

*El Salvador’s most popular food – A round tortilla made with corn dough, stuffed with beans, cheese and other ingredients.

Rene Colato LainezRené Colato Laínez, Author

I first met Francisco X Alarcón through his children’s books in my bilingual classroom at Fernangeles Elementary School. All of my students were from Latino families. Most of them were born in the USA. The rest of the students were recent immigrants from Latin America. I loved to read Francisco’s books because in them my students could find their culture, traditions, and as Francisco said, “Their roots/ Sus raices.”

At that time, my students called me, “The Teacher Full of Stories/ El maestro lleno de cuentos”, because I was always telling stories and turning them into books for the classroom. Francisco’s books were a great inspiration to write my own stories.

René Colato Laínez, Francisco X Alarcón, Margarita Robleda and Jorge Argueta
René Colato Laínez, Francisco X Alarcón, Margarita Robleda and Jorge Argueta

I had the big opportunity to meet Francisco in person at the CABE Conference (California Association for Bilingual Education). I was so excited to meet him. He was my rock star writer! I shared with him and the other authors who were also signing books, Amada Irma

Perez and Juan Felipe Herrera, my desire to write books. Francisco told me to keep writing and one day perhaps I will be sitting and signing books with them too.

Those words inspired me to keep writing and submitting my manuscripts for publication. It was a challenge process to publish a book but I did it. Francisco was right! Now I was signing books next to him and other amazing authors.

Francisco and Rene
Francisco and Rene

In 2010 author Jorge Argueta funded a children poetry festival in my native country, El Salvador. As a Salvadoran children’s book author, Jorge invited me to participate in the poetry festival. Margarita Robleda and Francisco X Alarcón were the other two pillars for this amazing festival that we do every year in El Salvador. Many Salvadoran authors also joined us to create the International

Children’s Poetry Festival (Internacional Festival de Poesía Infantil).

Francisco loved El Salvador. During the civil war, he helped recent Salvadoran immigrants in San Francisco. Now, he was in El Salvador visiting and reading his books to children from different parts of the country.

We always had a great time in El Salvador reading our books, eating pupusas, taking pictures, walking around San Salvador, and swimming at the beach.

I will always remember him. Francisco X. Alarcón, descansa en paz amigo.

Maya Christina GonzalezMaya Christina Gonzalez, Author and Illustrator

Maya wrote on her blog, “Francisco X. Alarcón let go of his body January 15. His passing is moving me very much. I am finishing drawings on our latest book together. A book of days. I look at spending the next few months very intimately sitting with Francisco as the arte unfolds. I am so sad.”


Watch Maya and Francisco talk about their work together:

Louise May, Editorial Director at Lee & Low

Francisco was a joyous force of nature with a generous spirit. His works for children radiate love and celebrate family, all kinds of families. I am always amazed at how his poems continue to delight and often catch you by surprise. We are proud to be the custodians of his children’s poetry collections so that generations to come may get to read his work. And I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with him. Always an experience!

Francisco, you will be missed.

Discover Francisco’s books for young readers:

Poems to Dream Together/ Poemas para soñar juntos

Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems / Jitomates risueños y otros poemas de primavera

From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems/ Del ombligo de la luna y otros poemas de verano

Angels Ride Bikes and Other Fall Poems/ Los Ángeles Andan en Bicicleta y otros poemas de otoñ

Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems/ Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno

Animal Poems of the Iguazú/ Animalario del Iguazú




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10. C. Spike Trotman to Create a Josephine Baker Graphic Novel

Josephine Baker (GalleyCat)C. Spike Trotman has signed a deal with First Second Books. He plans to create a biographical graphic novel profiling Josephine Baker.

Black Pearl will feature details on Baker’s rise to fame as an international entertainer, her love life, and her stance on politics. The publisher will release Black Pearl: The Graphic Life of Josephine Baker in 2018.

Trotman gave this statement about the project: “I’ve admired Josephine Baker since college, she’s symbolic of so much, to me. Triumph over adversity, for starters. Going your own way. And I’m eager to  have a chance to paint a down-to-earth picture of her, one with a lot of truth to it.”

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11. Cover Unveiled for New Matt Wallace Novel

Pride's Spell Cover (GalleyCat)

The cover has been unveiled for Matt Wallace’s forthcoming science fiction book, Pride’s Spell. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?

According to a B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog post, this project will be the third installment of the Sin du Jour series. Tor Books has scheduled the publication date for June 21.

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12. Paul Morley to Write a David Bowie Biography

Rocker David Bowie (GalleyCat)Paul Morley has landed a deal with the Simon & Schuster imprint, Gallery Books. The music journalist plans to write a biography profiling the late David Bowie.

Bowie (pictured, via), a beloved actor and rock star, passed on earlier this year. Morley’s book, entitled The Age of Bowie, will be released in late 2016.

Here’s more from The New York Times: “In addition to chronicling the prime of the rock legend’s career, the biography will also detail the final year of his life, in which he kept his illness from public view while completing the album ‘Blackstar,’ which was released days before his death. Mr. Morley contributed his knowledge of Mr. Bowie to the 2013 exhibition ‘David Bowie Is…” at the Victoria & Albert Museum.” (via Flavorwire)

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13. Marissa Meyer Inks Two Book Deal

Marissa Meyer (GalleyCat)Marissa Meyer has landed a deal with the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. She plans to write a young adult duology of graphic novels called Wires and Nerves.

Meyer (pictured, via) revealed in a blog post that she has had an aspiration to write a graphic novel since she was a teenager. The story takes place within the Lunar Chronicles universe; it will pick up after the events described in the fourth installment of the main series Winter.

The Washington Post reveals that Douglas Holgate will create the illustrations for this project. The first book will be released in January 2017.

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14. Lili Anolik Thinks Joan Didion Is Being Misread

Author Lili Anolik thinks that readers have gotten Joan Didion all wrong.

In a piece in Vanity Fair this month, she argues that Didion’s rise as an icon is “not just wrong, egregiously wrong, wrong to the point of blasphemy.” Check it out:

I’m talking about the canonization of Didion, Didion as St. Joan, Didion as Our Mother of Sorrows. Didion is not, let me repeat, not a holy figure, nor is she a maternal one. She’s cool-eyed and cold-blooded, and that coolness and coldness—chilling, of course, but also bracing—is the source of her fascination as much as her artistry is; the source of her glamour too, and her seductiveness, because she is seductive, deeply. What she is is a femme fatale, and irresistible. She’s our kiss of death, yet we open our mouths, kiss back.

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15. Johanna Basford Lands Deal for 2 New Adult Coloring Books

Johanna Basford (GalleyCat)Johanna Basford, a Scottish artist, has signed a deal with Penguin Random House to create two new coloring books for adults. Book one, entitled Magical Jungle, will be released in August 2016 and book two, entitled Johanna’s Christmas, will follow in October 2016.

The first project will blossoms, tropical plants, and monkeys. The second project will feature snowflakes, gingerbread houses, and wrapped gifts.

Basford (pictured, via) gave this statement in the press release: “I’m so excited to be working on two new books this year with Penguin Random House. It’s the biggest honor to have my inky imagined worlds brought to life by colorists around the globe, a chance to collaborate with literally millions of people! I create books so they can make masterpieces.”

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16. Cover Unveiled for New Tahereh Mafi Book

Furthermore Cover (GalleyCat)

The cover has been unveiled for Tahereh Mafi’s forthcoming book, Furthermore. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?

Dutton Books for Young Readers has scheduled the publication date for May 3. This project marks Mafi’s debut as a middle grade author.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mafi explains that she had never intended to write a middle grade story. She reveals that “it was my editor, Julie Strauss-Gabel, who wisely pointed out that the heart of my story was middle grade through and through. It was only after I realized how much of this book was a love letter to my favorite middle-grade stories — Anne of Green Gables; Alice in Wonderland; The Secret Garden; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; everything by Roald Dahl — that I understood how very right she was.”

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17. Literary Events This Week: Diane Vallere and Alexander Chee

Teen Author Reading Night Logo (GalleyCat)Here are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.

To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Five writers will take part in the Teen Author Reading Night panel at the Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Library. Join in on Wednesday, Feb. 3 starting 6 p.m. (New York, NY)

Diane Vallere will celebrate the launch of her mystery novel A Disguise to Die For at Ozzie Dots Vintage & Costume. Meet her on Wednesday, Feb. 3 starting 7 p.m. (Los Angeles, CA)

Alexander Chee will discuss his forthcoming novel The Queen of the Night at the next session of the Macaulay Author Series. Check it out on Thursday, Feb. 4 at Macaulay Honors College starting 7 p.m. (New York, NY)

Book’d in Burbank will launch the 2016 season with a night of mystery, romance, and young adult story readings. See how it all goes down on Thursday, Jan. 28 at The Group Repertory/Lonny Chapman Theatre starting 8 p.m. (North Hollywood, Calif.)

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18. Frederick Douglass Gets a Google Doodle for His Birthday

Frederick Douglass Google Doodle (GalleyCat)

Google has created a Doodle to celebrate Frederick Douglass’ 198th Birthday. He  was a social reformer, abolitionist, orator and writer.

Here’s more from the Google Doodle webpage: “To help us commemorate Frederick Douglass’s legacy, the Gilder Lehman Institute curated an exhibit of photographs and ephemera that you can explore here. Through our partnership with Open Road Integrated Media, Google Play Books is offering a free download of Douglass’s seminal autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: an American Slave, which is available starting today, February 1, 2016.”

In the past, Google has crafted Doodles in honor of Little House series author Laura Ingalls WilderWhere the Wild Things Are creator Maurice Sendak, and Anne of Green Gables novelist Lucy Maud MontgomeryHere’s a video from Google headquarters spotlighting the artists behind the doodles. Which authors would you suggest as future Doodle subjects? (via The Huffington Post)

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19. Writing Links

one way

What Does it Take to Finish a Book? :: Lisa Schroeder

When the Fun Begins :: Marion Dane Bauer (working with an editor)

6 Ways Authors Over-Dramatize :: Jody Hedlund

8 Paradoxes of Creative People :: Modern Mrs. Darcy

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Top 10 Tips for Writers to Stay Inspired and Kick-Start Your Creativity :: Goodreads

Revision Mindsets: Artist, Story, or Audience :: Fiction Notes

The post Writing Links originally appeared on Caroline Starr Rose

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20. Cover Unveiled for New Matthew J. Kirby Novel

Taste For Monsters (GalleyCat)

Matthew J. Kirby has unveiled the cover for his forthcoming book, A Taste for Monsters. We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think?

This project will be Kirby’s debut young adult novel. Lisa Sandell, an executive editor at Scholastic, acquired the manuscript.

According to Kirby’s blog post, the story features two historical figures: The Elephant Man and Jack the Ripper. The publisher has scheduled the release date for Sept. 27.

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21. An Update on Writing Smart and Not Scared


Last January, my local SCBWI chapter held a discussion on writing goals for the new year. At the time I had been processing a quote from Brenda Ueland as well as a recent email exchange with my critique partner, Valerie Geary, and was inspired to declare 2015 the year I learn to Write Smart and Not Scared.

Regular readers around here will know I’ve blogged about Smart and Not Scared writing throughout 2015. I’m still learning what this sort of writing looks like in my own life and will continue to do so in the year to come. Here’s a recap of the blog posts I’ve run and the topics I’ve covered. I hope you might click through to read them and join me in learning what it means to approach creativity in this way.

5 Ways I’m Learning to Write Smart and Not Scared

  • I want to be aware of the work beneath the work
  • I want to be proactive instead of reactive
  • I want my work, even when it’s hard, to bring about joy and satisfaction
  • I will not be afraid of anxious vanity
  • I will learn to mentally thumb my nose at the jeerers, critics, and doubters

An Update on Writing Smart and Not Scared

  • Discomfort will always be part of my process
  • My deepest satisfaction comes from the work itself
  • “No” is often a gift
  • Choosing a challenge is ultimately satisfying
  • Breaks feed my creativity

Write. Make. Create.

One way I’m choosing to free up the overwhelming creating-something-from-nothing phase is to do a little mental word play. Much like I trick myself into steady work by focusing on the story’s present moment (rather than reminding myself I’m writing a whole darn book), I’m going to claim two words from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic:

I’m not going to write right now. I’m going to make. I’m going to create.

Writing Smart and Not Scared: More Words from Isabel Allende

I find it interesting that Allende has only recently learned to “go easily with confidence” when it comes to her writing. “If I sit long enough, it will happen,” she says. She’s twenty-one novels in, but only recently has she realized she has a skill. Now she knows “If given enough time, I can write almost anything.”



The post An Update on Writing Smart and Not Scared originally appeared on Caroline Starr Rose

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22. Book Trailer Unleashed for ‘Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance’

Simon & Schuster has unveiled the book trailer for Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. The video embedded above features Angela Duckworth, a prominent psychologist, discussing her research.

The publisher has scheduled the release date for May 3. Back in 2013, Duckworth has given a talk on “The Key to Success? Grit” at the TED Talks Education conference; follow this link to watch Duckworth’s TED talk.

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23. Cover Unveiled for New Jessica Taylor Book

Wandering Wild Cover (GalleyCat)

The cover has been unveiled for Jessica Taylor’s forthcoming young adult novel, Wandering Wild.

According to the Publishing Crawl blog, this story belongs to the magical realism genre. For the author, magical realism can be defined as “a story that is not decidedly supernatural but can possibly encompass the supernatural.”

We’ve embedded the full image for the jacket design above—what do you think? Sky Pony Press has scheduled the publication date for May 3.

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24. Oscar Schwartz Gives a Ted Talk on Poetry and Technology

Writer and researcher Oscar Schwartz gave a talk at the TEDxYouth@Sydney conference to discuss this question: “Can a Computer Write Poetry?” We’ve embedded the full presentation in the video above—what do you think?

Schwartz focused his talk on “why we react so strongly to the idea of a computer writing poetry — and how this reaction helps us understand what it means to be human.” Click here to check out Schwartz’s digital Turing test for poetry, bot or not.

In the past, several poets have spoken on the TED stage including Project V.O.I.C.E. founder Sarah Kay, spoken-word performer Malcolm London, and math enthusiast Harry Baker. What is your favorite poem?

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25. Julie Barton Lands Deal With Penguin Books

Julie Barton (GalleyCat)Julie Barton has signed a deal with the Penguin Random House imprint, Penguin Books.

Barton has written a memoir entitled Dog Medicine. Kathryn Court, president of the imprint, negotiated the deal with Marly Rusoff, a literary agent.

Think Piece Publishing released the original edition of this book back in Nov. 2015. Penguin Books has scheduled the publication date for Jul. 2016. (Photo Credit: Colleen Gallagher)

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