Pulitzer-winning novelist Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad) has been named the new president of PEN America, the writers organization devoted to freedom of expression and human rights worldwide. She follows Andrew Solomon, who ran PEN for three years. “The power and meaning of the written word are central to the complexities we face today—both as a nation, and globally,’’ Egan says. “To my mind, freedom of expression is a basic human right. I’m honored to uphold and act as a steward of this right, and of PEN America’s mission.”
The Rumpus has posted its guide to the “literary madness” known as the AWP conference, which starts on Wednesday in Tampa and will host more than 12,000 writers, editors, and publishers.
Book critic James Wood has written a second novel, Upstate, which will be released by FSG this June. Over the years, Wood has written some lively critiques of novelists such as Richard Powers and Donna Tartt. But as he tells The Guardian: “Sometimes I think I’ve lost my nerve. I’m not slaying people any more.”
Many of the internationally best-selling thrillers are now coming out of Korea. “Interest in the country’s literature has boomed over the last decade, according to research by the Man Booker International prize, gathered after Korean author Han Kang won for her novel The Vegetarian. Sales of Korean books have increased from only 88 copies sold in the UK in 2001 to 10,191 in 2015, while the number of titles translated into English has doubled over the last five years, from 12 in 2013 to 24 in 2017.”
Signature has an interview with Yemeni American coffee impresario Mokhtar Alkhanshali, the inspiration for Dave Eggers’s new book The Monk of Mokha.