Last night, the Kirkus Prize, one of the most lucrative book awards in the world at $50,000 for each winner, went to Hanya Yanagihara, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Pam Muñoz Ryan.
In the New York Times magazine, Jonathan Mahler revisits the strange tale of Osama bin Laden’s killing—”not only a victory for the U.S. military but also for the American storytelling machine”—and the official statements, reporting, and other accounts of it (including Kathryn Bigelow’s 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty, which she rather grandly called “the first rough cut of history”). Mahler interviews Seymour Hersh, whose LRB story challenging the official version of events drew so much (often negative) attention, but he also speaks to a Pakistani journalist named Aamir Latif, who reported in Abbottabad in the days after the US raid and maintains there was indeed “coordination and cooperation” on it between the US and Pakistani authorities. Latif’s piece on the subject was actually published (without a byline) on GlobalPost all the way back in 2011.
The Mexican-American writer Jennifer Clement has become the first woman to be elected leader of PEN International.
Buzzfeed has been hiring more foreign correspondents, even as other outlets are having to close their bureaus abroad. Buzzfeed’s editor Ben Smith told Erik Wemple about its strategy for covering the globe more cheaply than old-time papers did—one thing that helps is that this generation of reporters “grew up as really aggressive, thrifty freelancers.”
Esther Leslie, a translator of Walter Benjamin, has a piece about Benjamin and the current plight of migrants in Europe that’s well worth reading.
Deborah Friedell’s LRB essay on Donald Trump is full of insights about what he is and isn’t good at, not least this one: “Bloomberg puts Trump’s current net worth at $2.9 billion, Forbes at $4.1 billion. The National Journal has worked out that if Trump had just put his father’s money in a mutual fund that tracked the S&P 500 and spent his career finger-painting, he’d have $8 billion.”