– Renowned American poet Galway Kinnell died of leukemia last week at the age of 87. Kinnell received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for 1982’s Selected Poems—as well as a MacArthur genius grant, a poet laureateship in Vermont, a chancellorship at the American Academy of Poets, and, most recently, the 2010 Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement. The World War II vet, anti-Vietnam War activist, and civil rights champion infused his verse with the gritty social issues pervading the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. The Los Angeles Times writes that the Kinnell is celebrated for his “forceful, spiritual takes on the outsiders and underside of contemporary life,” and how he “blended the physical and the philosophical, not shying from the most tactile and jarring details of humans and nature.” His work reflects the influence that Walt Whitman and friend W.S. Merwin had on him. Kinnell—who also taught at New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Reed College before retiring in 2011—is survived by his wife, two children from a former marriage, and two grandchildren.
– Prominent literary agent Andrew Wylie backed Hachette in the publisher’s negotiating standoff with Amazon during his keynote address at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto. He says that the industry would be better off if publishing houses like Hachette continue to “stand firm” in their battle over e-book pricing with the e-retailer. Wylie had harsh words for Amazon, recalling how New York City lawyer John Eastman—the man behind the Beatles’ long-withheld, lucrative music-rights deal with Apple in 2010—balked at the 30-percent profit share the online giant demands, saying e-readers are “useless pieces of high grade plastic” without the publishers’ content. “The publishing industry, up until now has cowered and whined and moaned and groaned and given Amazon pretty much everything they want,” Wylie told the crowd, a trend he anticipates ending after Hachette “drew a line in the sand.” He called Simon & Schuster’s recent deal with Amazon a return to the agency model. “[I]t’s pretty good for authors.” [Publishers Weekly]
– Dan Brown, author of the bestselling thrillers The DaVinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, will give a talk on “codes, science, and religion” for the eighth Penguin Annual Lecture next month, reports The Times of India. Brown will speak twice—in New York on Nov. 10 and then in Mumbai on Nov. 12—making this the first time the lecture will be held in two cities. “Dan Brown is a global phenomenon,” said Penguin Random House India CEO Gauray Shinagesh. “[H]e he has been singlehandedly responsible for getting a whole new generation of readers around the world interested in books, travel, symbols, history and art.” Previous speakers include the Dalai Lama, Thomas Friedman, and former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
– John Grisham’s Gray Mountain, released Oct. 21, is doing disappointingly well in the wake of the author’s controversial criticism of the harsh prison sentences imposed on online viewers of child pornography—”[s]ixty-year-old white men in prison” who “probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons.” The legal thriller is Grisham’s 15th novel to debut at No. 1 on the USA Today‘s bestseller list—Grisham’s subsequent apology for those comments appears to have been good enough for his myriad readers.
-The Association of American Publishers reports that young adult and children’s e-book sales revenue for the first quarter of 2014 surged an impressive 59.5% from the same period last year—spurring a 7.5% overall growth in the industry for that quarter. Religious e-book sales in that time also increased by 25.7%, while school-age educational titles are up 21.5%. [The Bookseller]