Is sweetness and light emerging as some sort of publishing micro-trend? First David Brooks lets us all in on the secret that “the résumé virtues” are less important than “the eulogy virtues”, like bravery, kindness, and so on (better to look good at your own funeral than at work); and now the Bookseller reports that the Dalai Lama is collaborating with Desmond Tutu on The Book of Joy: Finding Enduring Happiness in an Uncertain World, which was snapped up during a “very spirited” 12-publisher auction. (Apparently, the book will consist of answers to questions people have put to each of them on Facebook; they plan to hang this weekend and start work on it.) Still, at least the contrarianists at Melville House seem to be siding with darker forces.
From a forthcoming issue of Slice magazine, a conversation with Porochista Khakpour and Geek Love author Katherine Dunn—on stalkers, Moby-Dick and why there’s “something fundamentally interesting about a book that reverses the values of society.”
Self-published novelist Peter Gallagher is seeking $10 million in damages from Joss Whedon, Lionsgate, and the rest of the gang behind the satirical horror flick The Cabin in the Woods, which he claims ripped off his 2006 book. Among other things, the complaint compares the movie’s tagline (“You think you know the story”) to that for Gallagher’s novel: “A different way of telling a story you think you’ve heard before.” Seems that with advertising as with schlock horror, it’s all in the way you say it.
More dispiriting news for authors: Poets & Writers has analyzed its own listings section to produce an account of the changing state of writing contests over the last decade, and guess what—the number of contests has grown, total prize money has shrunk, there are ever fewer no-fee contests and the average entry fee has gone up. Higher up the chain, things look a bit more encouraging. Winners of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, an unusually magnanimous prize that gathers its vast longlist via nominations from hundreds of libraries, get €100,000: IMPAC just announced its ten shortlisted contenders for 2015, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Colum McCann and Roxana Robinson. And in nonfiction, Susana Ferreira won the first annual Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award, a $12,500 grant set up in memory of the journalist who died last year while on assignment in Uganda.