Literary circles have been abuzz this week about an essay in the New York Times in which Tim Kreider laments the fact that it’s now culturally acceptable to ask writers to write for free. “I’ve been trying to understand,” Kreider muses, “the mentality that leads people who wouldn’t ask a stranger to give them a keychain or a Twizzler to ask me to write them a thousand words for nothing.” Responding to the piece in the New Republic, Luke O’Neill calls working for free “a necessary evil,” and argues that “young writers entering the marketplace for the first time would be doing themselves a disservice to take a hard line against it.” Elsewhere, the Observer profiles Scratch, a new magazine about “the business of writing.”
Graywolf Press rings in Halloween with a scary audio recording of Benjamin Percy reading Goodnight, Moon.
A Jane Austen biographer has publicly criticized the Bank of England for “airbrushing” the image of Austen that will go on the new £10 note. “They’ve made her look like a doll, with big eyes,” The Real Jane Austen author Paula Byrne complained. “Jane Austen was a supreme social satirist, and some of her writing was quite dark, but they’ve chosen a picture that makes her look a really cosy, middle-class writer.”
Neil Gaiman is going to Bard. The acclaimed sci-fi author will be joining the theater department next spring, and will teach classes on “the history of the fantastic, approaches to fantasy fiction, and the meaning of fantasy today.”
Garth Risk Hallberg hasn’t yet secured a book deal for his 900-page novel-in-progress about 1970s New York, but that didn’t stop Hollywood producer Scott Rudin from purchasing the film rights to the book. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Rudin bought the manuscript—tentatively titled City of Fire—after reading the whole thing in one night.
The New York Public Library has announced the launch of the online Shelley-Godwin Archive, featuring original manuscripts and writing from Percy Bysshe Shelley and his second wife Mary Shelley, as well as from Mary’s parents, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. The Archive grew out of collaboration between the NYPL and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, and will debut on Thursday night. The archive’s crown jewel is the original manuscript of Frankenstein, which was written by Shelley over the summer of 1816, and, according to one of the project heads, “is itself a sort of patched-together monster.”