April 19, 2017

Grace Paley. Photo: Dorothy Marder

The New School has created the Grace Paley Teaching Fellowship. The recipient will teach a semester-long essay-writing seminar for a select group of freshman students and receive a $20,000 stipend. “Grace Paley presents a challenge for the teacher of young writers,” writes Scott Korb in his announcement. “We can expect in their work the abstract quality of beauty, sentences that are pleasing and satisfying to the mind for reasons that may remain inexplicable, that reveal sources of drama that arise, or arose, in the streets and friends and homes of our students, and not in our streets or among our friends or in our homes. That reveal something specific and shameless about their lives and minds and say a thing we, their teachers, might never say, despite all we think we have to teach them.”

Citing the work of Svetlana Alexievich and Scholastique Mukasonga, Scott Esposito reflects on literature that observes history as it happens, and why we need it in the US now more than ever. “We must also have a witness-bearing literature of this period that goes beyond the journalistic facts to give a literary understanding of the massive forces that have brought us to this point, and that now determine our politics. We must have our own Alexieviches [and] Mukasongas . . . to document the lives of this nation and the upheaval that we are going through.”

David Grann talks to Lit Hub about crime reporting, watching his books be turned into films, and his most recent work, Killers of the Flower Moon.

The New York Times profiles Shannon Donnelly, the Palm Beach journalist who has covered Donald Trump since he purchased his Mar-a-Lago estate. Donnelly and Trump seem to share a mutual respect, although Trump’s animosity toward journalists can sometimes be taken out on Donnelly as well. After one unfavorable article, Trump wrote to her in 1996 with a deal: if she reigned in her coverage of him, he wrote, “I will promise not to show you as the crude, fat and obnoxious slob which everyone knows you are.” In a response, Donnelly wrote in her column, “Crude, fat and obnoxious I can’t argue with. But slob, no.”

At The Guardian, Danuta Kean laments the rise of political satire books composed of empty pages, after Donald Trump recommended one in a tweet. “The only laughter I hear around blank books is that of the publishers, as they pocket the profits from books as subtle and revealing as a blow to the head,” she writes. “Perhaps the funniest thing to emerge from all of this is that Trump has yet to recommend a book (apart from his own) with words in it.”

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