September 13, 2016

On September 10, the Turkish government arrested and detained novelist Ahmet Altan and his brother Mehmet Altan, a writer and professor of economics. According to a letter of protest, the two men have been accused of “somehow giving subliminal messages to rally coup supporters on a television panel show broadcast 14 July, the night before the coup attempt.” A group of writers including Salman Rushdie, Elena Ferrante, and JM Coetzee have signed the letter demanding the Altans’ release.

Fast Company takes a long look at Jack Dorsey’s plans for the future of Twitter, “a kaleidoscopic quest featuring looming adversaries, bedeviling trolls, and artificial intelligence.” Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter is embracing its role as a media hub, and even recategorized itself last spring on the App Store under “News.” “You may have come in here assuming you’re going to see baby pictures from your friends,” Dorsey said. “What you’re going to see is what’s happening in sports and politics and the world around you.” For those still trying to understand the site, Dorsey recommends reading Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories: “It reminds me of Twitter.”

Nation Books will publish a book of advice by Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s Up to Women, featuring an introduction by the New Yorker’s Jill Lepore, hits shelves next April.

Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende

Bill Maher will receive the PEN Center USA’s First Amendment Award later this month at the group’s annual Literary Awards. Other winners include Jeff Nichols, who won a screenplay award for his film Loving; Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American journalist who will receive the Freedom to Write Award; and novelist Isabel Allende, who will be presented with a lifetime achievement award.

To commemorate Slate’s twentieth birthday—”a tender age in human years, and well past dead for dogs”—the site has created a digital, searchable archive of the 152,734 posts published over the past two decades. They’ll also spend the next week celebrating “the Next 20” by looking at the future through an analysis of its past reporting.

The 2016 election is setting up The Onion for a 38 percent traffic increase to its website compared to the 2012 election. After sending staffers to both presidential conventions this summer, “its convention videos outpaced those from major news outlets such as The New York Times, ABC, NBC and CNN” on Facebook.

At the New Republic, Kelsey Osgood asks what Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary fails to answer: “Is JT LeRoy’s Fiction Any Good?” Osgood herself is undecided, calling LeRoy’s second book, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, “virtually unreadable,” but finding LeRoy’s first book, Sarah, “very enjoyable to read.”  

Bookend events preceding the Brooklyn Book Festival continue tonight. Ann Patchett will talk to J. Courtney Sullivan about her new novel, Commonwealth, at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. Nearby, at the ISSUE Project Room, Steve Buscemi and composer Elliott Sharp create “a collage of sound and words from texts by William Burroughs” to celebrate the centennial of Burroughs’s birth. At Revolution Books in Harlem, author Clara Bingham will read from her new oral history Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind and Found Its Soul.

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