Round-Up: The World’s Oldest Library, Iron Man, and a New Random House Imprint

Picture of some old building pillars.

From the re-opening of the worlds oldest working library to a new Random House imprint, here are last week’s biggest literary stories:

  • This past week, Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis announced in Time that long time Iron Man Tony Stark will be stepping down at the end of the Civil War II, and that a new character will be filling the iconic red metal suit. That someone is 15 year old black MIT student Riri Williams. Bendis created the character after being inspired by a woman he met while in Chicago, stating that a woman attending college after a lifetime of tragedy is “the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story [he] had ever heard.” This announcement comes amidst other exciting news from Marvel, including  the announcement that the next Thor will be a woman, the re-vamping of the Black Panther series with Ta Nehisi-Coates at the helm, and the recent announcement that it will be introducing its first transgender superhero, Chalice.
  • The world’s oldest working library has recently been re-opened to the public. Closed for renovations since 2012, the library at al-Qarawiyyin University has until now only been open to researchers. The library is located in Fez, Morocco and was started as a part of the University when it was founded by Fatima El-Fihriya in the year 859. The renovation, lead by Canadian-Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni, was intended to preserve the building, but also added modern amenities such as solar panels and digital locks. There are plans underway for a public visitor’s wing, which may contain a cafe and an exhibition room.
  • Random House Children’s Books President Barbra Marcus announced this past week that Random House has created a new imprint of RHCB called Make Me a World. The press, helmed by writer Christopher Myers and overseen by Jenny Brown, Vice President of Knopf Books for Young Readers, aims to bring more diversity to children’s literature. The imprint has been in the works since 2015, and there was buzz surrounding it even before the official announcement. Christopher Myers commented: “I want this imprint to build worlds for young people to grow up in. Each book is a world–and there are so many worlds that have yet to be created.” The first three titles of the imprint, Child of the Universe by Ray Jayawardhana,  Mama Mable’s All-Gal Big Band by Annie Sieg, and Walk Toward the Rising Sun by Ger Duany, are set to be released in 2018.

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