Round-Up: Roots, Jack Keruac, and the O. Henry Prize Winners

Picture of an old letter written in cursive

From the auctioning off of Jack Keruac’s famous letter to the next book in the Millennium series, here are the latest literary headlines:

  • The letter that is largely credited as the inspiration for Jack Keruac’s On the Road is going to auction on June 16. Addressed to Keruac and written by Neal Cassady, the “Joan Anderson letter” was presumed lost until it turned up in the files of an old publishing house. The letter was first listed for sale in 2014, but was pulled when both Keruac’s estate and Cassady’s family claimed ownership. Following an extensive legal battle, the letter is ready to be auctioned off. The letter will be available for public viewing starting on May 31.
  • Roots, the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Alex Haley, is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. A remake of the 1977 miniseries based on the book will air over Memorial Day weekend on the History, Lifetime, and A&E channels. The new cast will involve actors Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker, and English newcomer Malachi Kirby as the main character, Kunta Kinte.
  • Last week, the twenty O. Henry Prize stories were announced. The list of winners includes previous Ploughshares contributors Elizabeth Tallent (Fall 1993), Wendell Berry (Summer/Fall 1982, Fall 2002) and Ron Carlson (Spring 1992, Fall 2002, Fall 2004, Winter 2005-2006, Spring 2008). Ron Carlson also served as guest editor for our Fall 2006 issue. The stories, edited by Laura Furman and published by Anchor, will be released in a collection this September.
  • The fifth book in the Millennium series will be released in the UK in 2017, as announced by Quercus, Stieg Larsson’s British publisher. The release in the states will be handled by Knopf, the US publisher. The novel, which doesn’t yet have a name, goes by the codename “Millennium V.” It will be written by David Lagercrantz, who wrote the previous Millennium novel “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.”


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