July 20, 2017

Eimear McBride

The Brooklyn Public Library announced the longlist for its fiction and nonfiction Literary Prize yesterday. Nominees include Pankaj Mishra’s Age of Anger and David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon, and Eimear McBride’s The Lesser Bohemians and Lidija Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan for fiction. A shortlist will be released in September, and winners will be announced in October.

Novelist Junot Díaz is writing a children’s book. The New York Times writes that Islandborn “grew out of a promise he made to his goddaughters two decades ago, when they asked him to write a book that featured characters like them, Dominican girls living in the Bronx.” The book will be published by Dial Books for Young Readers next spring.

Keanu Reeves is now an art book publisher. The Los Angeles Times talks to the actor and his co-founders, Alexandra Grant and Jessica Fleischmann, about their independent press, X Artists’ Books. Grant said that the books published by the press all contain “a strong sense of politics and social interest.” Reeves said that though the books are beautiful, “they ain’t all bedtime stories. . . . They’re complicated.”

At The Guardian, Ross Barkan points out that while declining revenues and the closure of local newspapers are more of a threat to the journalism industry than Trump, the lack of day-to-day contact with reporters and editors makes the administration’s war on the media more believable. “We can hate most what we don’t know. If a newspaper doesn’t operate near you for a hundred miles and you only see a live journalist if one swoops in during a presidential election – or one never shows up at all – you only know what you read about on Facebook or watch on Fox News,” he writes. “There are only the images and the hate, symbols and distortion.”

The Village Voice profiles Alexandra Bell, a Brooklyn-based artist who works with newspaper text to highlight the racial disparities in mainstream journalism coverage. The first piece in her Counternarratives series addresses a New York Times front page article about the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; the second highlights the Times’s choice to use a photo of Jamaican Olympian Usain Bolt under a headline about American swimmer Ryan Lochte’s fabricated robbery claims at the Rio Olympics. “I want people to have a clear sense of the history of journalism. When you do, you understand what the implications are behind what you’re writing,” Bell said. “You need to think more critically about how, historically, people have been framed in newspapers, what decisions you’re making that may be contributing to that even if that’s not your intention.”

Tonight at Greenlight Bookstore, Margo Jefferson talks to Zinzi Clemmons about her debut novel, What We Lose.

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