May 18, 2017

Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma has been named the editor of the New York Review of Books. Buruma has been contributing to the magazine since the 1980s, and is taking over for founding editor Robert Silvers, who died earlier this year.

The Walrus editor Jonathan Kay has resigned after “expressing dismay” over the departure of Write magazine editor Hal Niedzviecki, who stepped down last week amid criticism of his recent column on cultural appropriation. On Twitter, Kay wrote that while he did not object to Niedzviecki’s firing, he did object to “the shaming, the manifestos, the creepy confession rituals.” In an appearance on CBC, he noted that while he agreed that there needed to be more focus on the rights of writers of color to call out appropriation, “it doesn’t help the debate when you take one side and cast them all as a bunch of racists.”

Unwanted Advances author Laura Kipnis is being sued by one of the pseudonymous students featured in her book. Filed as Jane Doe, the student’s suit alleges that Kipnis’s book misrepresents her relationship with the professor and has “significantly harmed” her reputation.

Get Out writer and director Jordan Peele is working on a TV show for HBO. Based on Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country, the show will focus on a young man’s journey through the Jim Crow South.

The shortlist for the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing was announced earlier this week. The selected authors include Lesley Nneka Arimah for her New Yorker short story, “Who Will Greet You At Home,” and Magogodi Makhene for “The Virus,” originally published in the Harvard Review. The winner will be announced in July.

Tochi Onyebuchi talks to Exit West author Mohsin Hamid about democracy, migration, and writing as a political act. Hamid traces the origin of his novel to the recent increase in anti-immigrant sentiment worldwide. “As someone who has often migrated myself—at the age of three, I went to California; back to Pakistan at nine; back to America at eighteen; Britain at thirty; then back to Pakistan in my late thirties—I feel it almost personally.” Hamid also notes that the current political tension worldwide has changed the literary conversation over the purpose of novels. “Preoccupations with the form as form and with the privileging of a question of authenticity to myself and fiction versus non-fiction may not seem as pressing as concerns at a time when you have to worry about whether the state is marginalizing entire groups of human beings and whether democracy will still exist in ten years,” he said.

At the New Yorker, Rebecca Mead profiles Gerhard Steidl, the printer and publisher of Steidl. Mead chronicles Steidl’s meticulous process for creating books, which involves flying photographers to Germany at least three times, where they are required to stay in “Steidlville,” the guesthouse next door to the factory and office. Steidl is involved in every decision that goes into the book—from how many types of black ink to use to which type of endpapers to use—and prizes quality over cost efficiency. “Using the cheaper one saves significant money for the shareholders,” he told Mead. “But I am the only shareholder.”

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