Authors and Writers

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Literature
Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti dies aged 101
Lawrence Ferlinghetti at Caffe Trieste in 2012 by Christopher Michel
Lawrence Ferlinghetti at Caffe Trieste in 2012 by Christopher Michel Credit: Cmichel67, via Wikimedia Commons

American poet, painter, social activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers Lawrence Ferlinghetti has died at the age of 101 of interstitial lung disease in San Francisco. Lawrence published many of the Beat poets, offered an essential meeting place for the Beats with his City Lights bookstore and was considered a Beat poet as well.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Literature
Author Winston Groom dies at age 77
Forrest Gump author Winston Groom speaking at the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant event (cropped)
Forrest Gump author Winston Groom speaking at the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant event (cropped) Credit: Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Author Winston Groom has died at the age of 77. He is best known for his novel Forrest Gump, which was eventually turned into a global box office hit and award-winning movie.

"Saddened to learn that Alabama has lost one of our most gifted writers," Alabama governor Kay Ivey said when confirming Groom's death. "While he will be remembered for creating Forrest Gump, Winston Groom was a talented journalist & noted author of American history. Our hearts & prayers are extended to his family."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
"A Letter on Justice and Open Debate" – a open letter warning against "intolerance of opposing views" signed by 150 public figures, including authors Rowling and Atwood
"A Letter on Justice and Open Debate" – a open letter warning against "intolerance of opposing views" signed by 150 public figures, including authors Rowling and Atwood
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler

Around 150 public figures have signed an open letter titled "A Letter on Justice and Open Debate" warning of the spread of "censoriousness" and "intolerance of opposing views" in today's culture. Among the signatories are writer and activist Gloria Steinem and authors J.K. Rowling and Margarete Atwood.

The letter states that "powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society," but that this has also led to "a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity."

"The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. [...] But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought," the letter continues.