October 17, 2017

The Man Booker Prize winner will be announced this afternoon at 4:40 pm (EDT). According to the Daily News, George Saunders is the bookies’ favorite to win for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo. The other nominees are 4321 by Paul Auster, History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, Elmet by Fiona Mozley, and Autumn by Ali Smith. (For some reason, the judges skipped Zadie Smith’s big novel, Swing Time, among other high-profile snubs.) With three Americans (Fridlund, Auster, and Saunders) on the list this year, The Guardian asks: “British writers can’t win the big US prizes, so why can Americans win the Booker?”

Dave Bry

Author and editor Dave Bry has died at the age of forty-six. Bry was a frequent contributor to The Awl, the author of the book Public Apology, a columnist for The Guardian, and worked at Vibe, Spin, and XXL. A post on the Awl remembers Bry this way: “The generosity at the heart of everything he wrote was, if anything, wildly underplayed: His decency was essential to his character.”

At the Washington Post, Erik Wemple points out the predictably glaring hypocrisy of Fox News’s coverage of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. And Vox details how the story has, somehow, become about Hillary Clinton. As Dara Lind writes, “The news cycle requires people like Hillary Clinton to go through the motions of issuing a statement to make it clear that no, really, they oppose a violation of sexual morality even when they know the person accused of it. But really, the statement isn’t the point. . . . The point is that people who believe in a better world have been implicated in the fallen world we live in.”   

Jonathan Freedland, a Guardian columnist who writes fiction under the name Sam Bourne, wrote a book that has eerily predicted many of the most terrifying stories from the current news cycle. In To Kill the President, the US leader plans a nuclear war with North Korea, baiting the WPK dictator with juvenile insults (among other similarities to recent events). In the novel, though, US officials plan to assassinate the president, a turn that has alarmed Trump supporters. The New York Times profiles Freedland and explains his take on the controversy:  “His intention, he stressed, was to raise the thorny moral questions facing senior administration officials when the top guy in the White House appears to be recklessly lurching toward global destruction.”

Tonight at McNally Jackson books, Emily Witt talks about her new book Nollywood: The Making of a Film Empire with Nicholas Lemann.

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