November 16, 2017

Ha Jin

The winners of the 2017 National Book Award were announced last night. Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing won for fiction, Masha Gessen’s The Future is History won for nonfiction, and Frank Bidart’s Half-light won for poetry.

Touchstone is publishing a new short story collection featuring the work of Louise Erdrich, Ha Jin, Walter Mosley, and more. It Occurs to Me That I Am America will be published next January and, according to editor Jonathan Santlofer, “aims to address the anxiety many Americans are feeling about losing the freedoms for which we’ve fought; to remind us of America as an international symbol of hope; and considers the most basic notion of all: what it means to be American.”

Jane Hu examines the “unusually detached” voices found in some works of fiction by Asian-American writers, and why these voices, usually belonging to a character with no specified race, “are often later reattached, by critics and other readers, to the authors themselves.”

Two journalists arrested during protests at Trump’s inauguration are still facing charges, the New York Times reports. Freelance photojournalist Alexei Wood’s trial started yesterday, and Santa Fe Reporter staffer Aaron Cantú’s trial is scheduled for October.

Former New Republic editor Peter Beinart reflects on the system of “affirmative action” at the magazine, in which Ivy League-educated white men hired more Ivy League-educated white men.

Maer Roshan talks to Tina Brown about working with Harvey Weinstein, celebrity culture, and the other recently-unearthed memories from her just-published diaries. The unedited diaries from her time at Vanity Fair contained over 350,000 words. “I savagely cut anything that wasn’t either vivid, funny or self-revealing,” Brown said. “I usually decided to keep in those candid observations. . . . It was fun to come across entries like the one I wrote after visiting a bunch of Oxford friends. ‘This person Boris Johnson is an epic shit and I hope he ends badly!’ I still adhere to that view.”

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