July 10, 2017

Colson Whitehead

While he was at Fox News, Bill O’Reilly was an unflagging promoter of his own books. Since his unceremonious departure from the network on April 11, his book sales have dipped significantly, the Washington Post reports. O’Reilly’s Old School, which he cowrote with Bruce Feirstein, opened at number one on the New York Times Bestseller list when it was released in March, and more than 67,000 copies were sold in April. But in June, the book’s sales plummeted to around 2,400.

Novelist Margaret Atwood has proclaimed on Twitter that she would like Drake to make a cameo in the second season of the TV series based on Atwood’s dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale.

The controversial right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Simon & Schuster, which planned to publish the former Breibart News writer’s memoir Dangerous, but dropped it after Yiannopoulos made public comments that seemed to defend sexual relationships between men and boys. The author says that the publisher caved under political pressure, and that “they have to pay.” Simon & Schuster lawyers say that the publisher will “vigorously defend itself against any such action, and fully expects to prevail in court.”

The Los Angeles Review of Books has joined forces with USC to offer a summer program to help people break into the publishing industry. Although most publishing jobs are currently in New York, LARB editor in chief Tom Lutz says that many of those in the program are hoping to work on the West Coast. The five-week workshop, says Lutz, encourages “entrepreneurial possibilities and innovation,” and most of the students are hoping “to join an entrepreneurial venture here or start their own.”

“Why not treat writers more generously? In a society growing mingier by the day, writers seem to rank low on the list of those with claims to assistance. Yet entire societies are degraded and destroyed when hacks and liars are rewarded: Kellyanne Conway recently bought an $8 million house.” Benjamin Moser devotes a short essay to the question: “Do grants, professorships and other forms of institutional support help writers but hurt writing?”

Colson Whitehead explains why he had to wait to write his Pulitzer-winning book The Underground Railroad, a novel he first started thinking about in 2000: “It was daunting in terms of its structure, and to do the research as deep as it needed to be done, and to deal with the subject with the gravity it deserved, was scary. And then, a couple of years ago, I thought maybe the scary book is the one you’re supposed to be doing.”

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