• March 3, 2016

    Longlists have been announced for the Orwell Prize for Journalism, and for the much more enticingly named Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils.

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan’s archives, which are much more extensive than you might expect, have just been purchased by several institutions in Oklahoma. The New York Times writes: “Classics from the 1960s appear in coffee-stained fragments, their author still working out lines that generations of fans would come to know by heart. (‘You know something’s happening here but you,’ reads a scribbled early copy of ‘Ballad of a Thin Man,’ omitting ‘don’t know what it is’ and the song’s famous punch line: ‘Do you, Mister Jones?’) The range of hotel stationery suggests an obsessive self-editor in constant motion.”

    Technology site CNET has begun publishing new fiction monthly under the oddly chosen rubric Technically Literate.

    It’s to be assumed that, despite his withdrawal last time, Donald Trump will make an appearance at tonight’s Fox News Republican debate, and the New York Times has been speaking with the moderators beforehand: “I’m a fight fan, and when you watch a referee in a match, even if the fighters are tangled up, if they’ve each got a free arm and are still punching, the ref will let them keep fighting,” Chris Wallace said. He’s also quoted as saying: “I thought that if you could see someone acting like a president on the stage, you have better eyesight than I do. . . . Having said that, in the end, if the candidates want to act like damn fools, I’m not going to stop them.” Fox boss Rupert Murdoch, on the other hand, seems all ready to rally behind Trump.

    Another heartwarming image: Apparently a group of Republican legislators have their own book club, where they invite lobbyists and donors to discuss the merits of Ayn Rand and the like over lunch.

    Melissa Harris-Perry, “an African American scholar in an industry that has diversity problems [and] a host whose topical focus for four years on MSNBC has been race and gender,” has refused a parting deal with the network that would have prevented her talking about the problems there via a “non-disparagement clause.” “They wanted us to cover politics in the narrowest sense,” CNN Money quotes her as saying. “I told my team, we can’t allow our own show to go off air and then provide racial cover by having me continue to host the show so people see the little black girl up there.”

    Ahead of International Women’s Day next week, journalist Melissa Gira Grant lists her recommended reading on sex work and reproductive labor, including Kathi Weeks’s The Problem with Work and Samuel R. Delany’s Times Square Red, Times Square Blue.

    And you won’t want to miss these previously unpublished early works by Annie Dillard.

  • March 2, 2016

    The New Yorker’s long-serving managing editor, Silvia Killingsworth, will be taking over as editor of the Awl, and while she’s at it, will be in charge of a relaunch of the Hairpin.

    Nine writers, including Helen Garner, C. E. Morgan, and Hilton Als, received one of Yale’s Windham-Campbell Prizes this week: Always good, as the program director Michael Kelleher points out, to get a call “out of the blue” offering you $150,000.

    Young Jean Lee

    Young Jean Lee

    Among the winners is Branden Jacob-Jenkins—who said ”I only wish everyone alive could get a phone call like the one I just received”—who has also received one of this year’s PEN literary awards, as has the brilliant playwright Young Jean Lee. And Toni Morrison has been given PEN’s Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.

    After a false start a couple of years ago, Hachette Book Group is now to buy the publishing section of Perseus, increasing by half the number of new books it brings out every year.

    Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah’s beautiful essay on James Baldwin, taken from a forthcoming anthology, The Fire This Time, is up at BuzzFeed.

    The latest issue of Words Without Borders is out, featuring an intriguing range of Moroccan writing and some Uyghur poetry.

    After Super Tuesday, you may want to revisit John Oliver’s take on Donald Trump.

  • March 1, 2016

    Buzzfeed reports that the New York Times has off-the-record tape of Donald Trump, who hopes to consolidate his lead in the race for the GOP nomination today, suggesting that his views on immigration may be less rigid than those he has expressed in public. Rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are asking that the recording be released.

    Melissa Harris-Perry

    Melissa Harris-Perry

    And election season seems the worst time for cable news to be losing Melissa Harris-Perry, whose MSNBC show has mysteriously collapsed, or in her words, been “effectively and utterly silenced.”

    If you haven’t yet read Joshua Cohen’s piece on Bernie Sanders, Super Tuesday may be the day to do so.

    Staff at Gawker have negotiated the first union contract at a digital media company, securing minimum salary levels, a guaranteed annual pay rise, and, unusually, an agreement on editorial independence: A union rep said that “Any decision on editorial content has to be made by the editorial side – not by business decisions or advertisers.” Writer Hamilton Nolan expressed the hope that the contract would serve as an example to “some of the other places in the industry that screw their writers a lot worse than we do.”

    And in other cheering news, a report on feline fiction and its controversies.

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