June 19, 2017

The literary organization PEN has announced that it will grant novelist Margaret Atwood—author of more than forty books, including The Handmaid’s Tale—a lifetime achievement award.

The Brooklyn Book Festival, which will take place on September 17, has released a partial list of authors who will participate this year. Among the writers who will read from their work or participate in roundtable discussions are: Colson Whitehead, Elif Batuman, Chris Hayes, Jacqueline Woodson, Lois Lowry, Erna Brodber, Santiago Gamboa, Young-ha Kim, and Hisham Matar. According to organizers, this year’s festival will pay special attention to topics such as reporting on refugees.

Andrew O’Hagan

Novelist and critic Andrew O’Hagan wonders how social media—in particular the ways that it has changed or eradicated our old ideas about private life—will affect the future of the novel. “Private life, in the sense that it meant something to Henry James, has ceded to the internet, and how we watch, are watched and how we self-watch are hot-wired to digital code. The interior life, let us say, used to be about who a person was inside themselves, and such alterations as could be detected were the stuff of literature. Nowadays the interior life means something else: it refers to who are you inside the web.”

Publishers Weekly reports on last week’s Association of American University Presses annual meeting in Austin, Texas, and argues that university presses are “more vital than ever.”

The New York Times interviews David Grossman and his translator, Jessica Cohen, who both won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for the English translation of Grossman’s novel A Horse Walks into a Bar. Much is lost in translation, but as Cohen points out, jokes present especially difficult challenges. “There were a few examples of jokes—not so much because of pacing or sound but because of cultural knowledge a non-Israeli reader wouldn’t have—that just weren’t going to work in English. Obviously if you have to explain something, it’s not funny. There were some cases like that where I managed to come up with a kind of equivalent. Some things we just had to drop.”

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