February 6, 2017

The New Yorker and Vanity Fair have both decided to cancel their White House Correspondents’ Dinner events. In an email, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter reminded staff that the magazine has not attended the dinner in the past, and that “he planned to spend the weekend fishing in Connecticut instead.”

A tech firm with ties to Russia has filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing a dossier of unconfirmed intelligence findings related to Donald Trump and his connections to Putin. The document alleged that XBT Holdings, a company owned by Aleksej Gubarev, had assisted the Kremlin in hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s computers.

A stage adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 will come to Broadway this summer. Described as “willfully assaultive” by a New York Times theater critic during its run in London, the play will open on June 22 at the Hudson Theater.

In the Times, sports writer Marc Tracy reflects on an encounter with Steve Bannon in an Atlanta airport after the election. Bannon was reading David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest, a “history of the strategic errors and human foibles” that led to US involvement in Vietnam. Though the book makes the case that highly educated generalists were to blame for many of the debacles of the war, Tracy wonders if Bannon understands that the message isn’t anti-intellectual. “If ‘The Best and the Brightest’ is a brief against the East Coast meritocracy, though, its proposed alternative is not pure ideology,” Tracy writes. “It is expertise.”

Bharati Mukherjee

Writer and professor Bharati Mukherjee died last week at the age of 76. The author of eight novels, four short-story collections, and numerous works of nonfiction, Mukherjee won the National Book Critics Award for Fiction for her 1988 book, The Middleman and Other Stories. Mukherjee was born in India in 1940 and came to United States to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the early ’60s. In 2005, she described the writing approach she honed during this period: “I evolved a credo: Make the familiar exotic (Americans won’t recognize their country when I get finished with it) and make the exotic—the India of elephants and arranged marriages—familiar.” She used this strategy to great effect over the course of her career, including in Jasmine—perhaps her best-known novel—published in 1989. That year, she told BOMB magazine that she saw herself as an American writer, whose stories detail a side of the country that is often overlooked in literature: “I’m not writing like a Richard Ford or a John Updike, that’s not the only America. It has many pluralities. I’m writing about an American immigrant group who are undergoing many transformations within themselves. And who, by their very presence, are changing the country. America is not the America that, until recently, has come through in contemporary popular fiction.”

Tonight at the 92nd Street Y, Rachel Cusk and Chris Bachelder read from their new novels.

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