January 26, 2015

The diary of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Guantanamo Bay prisoner charged with being a top level Al Qaeda recruiter, was just published (in heavily redacted form) after a seven-year legal fight. The Times recounts that one of the redacted passages is Slahi writing “I couldn’t help breaking in [redacted].” As the book’s editor explains, “It seems possible, if incredible, that the U.S. government may have here redacted the word ‘tears.’ ”

 Alice K. Turner, Playboy’s fiction editor for two decades, died on January 17 at the age of 75. Over the years, Turner published Ursula K. Le Guin, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, and David Foster Wallace, among others. She characterized working as an editor as like being in the middle of a web, “with lines of interest and appreciation and often real affection reaching out all over the country, often to writers you’ve never published, and possibly never will.”

 On The Believer website, writers discuss the writers of this generation that have been most influential to them. The list began at A and is now at E, which means you’ll find discussions of Jennifer Egan, Deborah Eisenberg, Louise Erdrich, and Percival Everett, as well as Dave Eggers and Jeffrey Eugenides.

Vivian Gornick

Vivian Gornick

At the Paris Review, read an excerpt of Elaine Blair’s interview with Vivian Gornick, whose new memoir, The Old Woman and the City, is expected in May. Gornick’s independence and severity are in full display in the conversation. “My editor and my agent kept urging me to write more about myself and love,” she says. “But I’ve always known that, for me, love is not really to the point. I’ve never seen how love made people better, stronger, more real to themselves. On the other hand, if I had to live without work, life would be intolerable.”
Theodore Ross, who work at Harper’s for seven years, is joining the New Republic as features editor.

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