• January 18, 2019

    Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver has died at age eighty-three. The New York Times has collected selections of her work that details Oliver’s “reverence for the natural world and her frank, but comforting, descriptions of mourning.”

    Esmé Weijun Wang. Photo: Kristin Cofer

    The Forward is ending print editions of its newspaper and plans to lay off nearly half the paper’s editorial staff, the New York Post reports. The publication will continue to publish online in both English and Yiddish.

    Esmé Weijun Wang talks to Publishers Weekly about writing about illness, her new essay collection, and the different expectations that readers have for fiction and nonfiction. Since writing The Collected Schizophrenias, Wang says that she has found readers “expect you to be able to give advice or give succor” in a way that they didn’t with fiction. “I’m going to hear these stories, and I will try to listen, and I will try to offer as much as I can,” she said. “But at the same time, I don’t have the answer.”

    Hilton Als talks to Garage’s Paige Bradley about curating “God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin” at David Zwirner.

    Tidying Up host Marie Kondo tells Indiewire that, despite the numerous essays claiming that she advocates for getting rid of all of one’s books, “she doesn’t want people to get rid of all (or even most) of their books.” “The question you should be asking is what do you think about books,” Kondo said through her interpreter, Marie Iida. “If the image of someone getting rid of books or having only a few books makes you angry, that should tell you how passionate you are about books, what’s clearly so important in your life.”

  • January 17, 2019

    Atria Books is launching a new imprint. Signal Press, which will be led by Julia Cheiffetz, will focus on “books that contribute to the conversation around feminism, politics, and issues of social justice.” Upcoming titles include Emma Brown’s How to Raise a Boy, Michelle Duster’s Ida B the Queen, and Tom Randall’s biography of Elon Musk.

    Carmen Maria Machado. Photo: Tom Storm

    New York magazine business and strategy editor David Haskell will replace Adam Moss as editor in chief, CNN reports.

    Carmen Maria Machado talks to Entertainment Weekly about research, queer domestic violence, and writing her first memoir. In the Dream House focuses on Machado’s “harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman,” a subject underrepresented in literature. “There’s [this pressure] where the minority wants to perform for the majority, like, ‘We can’t let them know that this happens to us too.’ So it felt like a space very rich for exploration.”

    “In the spirit of Gawker, whose stated mission was to tell the stories journalists talk about at the bar after work,” Splinter’s Laura Wagner details everything there is to know “about all the people who have been hired at the new Gawker.”

    Slate’s editorial union has signed a three-year contract with management. “One of our primary reasons for undertaking this process was our profound love of Slate. We felt so lucky to work with management last week to put our shared goals into action,” the union said in their announcement. “Our contract reflects our fundamental values as a company and a workplace.”

    Grindr has laid off the editorial and social media staff of its online publication, Into. “As with any growing business, we have to continually evaluate what is best for Grindr,” the company explained in a statement. “After a thoughtful and collaborative process, Grindr’s leadership decided to modify Into’s content mix to rely more heavily on video.”

  • January 16, 2019

    Adam Moss. Photo: Mark Mann

    After fifteen years, Adam Moss is stepping down from his role as editor in chief of New York magazine, the New York Times reports. “I’ve been going full throttle for 40 years; I want to see what my life is like with less ambition,” Moss told the paper. “I’m older than the staff. I’m older than the readers. I just want to do something new.” Moss will remain at the magazine through March.

    CBS News and Simon & Schuster are collaborating on a podcast and book project hosted by Mo Rocca. Mobituaries, the title of both works, is “an irreverent but deeply researched appreciation of the people (and things) of the past who have long intrigued him—from an unsung Founding Father to the first Chinese-American superstar, from Neanderthals to the station wagon.” The eight-episode podcast will start this Friday, while the book hits shelves next November, “to coincide with the second season.”

    Help Me! author Marianne Power tells Vulture about the year she spent following the advice of self-help books.

    The New York Times’s Ben Widdicombe reports from the book party for Lili Anolik’s Hollywood’s Eve, which “was as much a boozy wake for bygone magazine jobs as it was a book celebration.”

    Washington Post journalists are conflicted over how to cover owner Jeff Bezos’s high-profile divorce, Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo reports. “If Amazon had a Facebook type of situation, which had tentacles in Congress, public documents, some sort of connection with the election, that would be far closer to our center of gravity,” one anonymous source told Pompeo. “We probably would not be putting a whole team of reporters on this in any case. But it does raise some questions.”

  • January 15, 2019

    Leslie Jamison

    In an exclusive essay at Entertainment Weekly, Leslie Jamison details the origins of her new book on obsession and longing, Make It Scream, Make It Burn. “At first, I thought this collection was about the connection between desire and distance, about being obsessed with what we can’t fully grasp: the mystery of prior lives, the metaphor of a lonely whale, the allure of an online avatar,” she writes. “But eventually, I realized that it was just as interested in what’s right in front of us. How do we keep showing up for our daily lives? How do we keep reinventing them?”

    This year’s T. S. Eliot Prize has been awarded to Hannah Sullivan for her debut collection, Three Poems.

    Bob Woodward has won the 2019 PEN America Literary Service Award for his book Fear.

    Haley Mlotek, a former editor at The Hairpin and a contributor to the New Yorker, n+1, and more, has sold her book No Fault: Romance and Divorce to Viking.

    At Longreads, Sarah Boon talks to Late in the Day author Tessa Hadley about short stories, MFAs, and the difference between painting and writing.

    Splinter looks into Vice News employees’ reports of factual errors in Jill Abramson’s upcoming book, Merchants of Truth. In a section about Vice executive Josh Tyrangiel’s staffing choices, Abramson mischaracterized several reporters’ work experience and made “sweeping assumptions about Vice’s new hires based on their haircuts.”

  • January 14, 2019

    Cory Doctorow Bird

    Cory Doctorow

    The Guardian is spotlighting the “hottest-tipped” debut novelists of 2019.

    New Yorker writer Ken Auletta is writing a biography of Harvey Weinstein, and has sold the rights to Penguin Press.

    Tech journalist and sci-fi author Cory Doctorow recently wrote on his blog Boing Boing about Bird, a scooter-sharing startup. Doctorow explained how anyone can convert, with some simple mechanical adjustments, the scooters offered by Bird into “personal scooters.” Bird has demanded that Doctorow remove the post immediately, saying that he is telling people how to steal their properrty. But the writer isn’t backing down. He’s posted again, writing, “Bird Scooter tried to censor my Boing Boing post with a legal threat that’s so stupid, it’s a whole new kind of wrong.”

    The poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith is taking her podcast, The Slowdown, to NPR.

    Although Samuel Beckett won the Nobel Prize in 1969, newly released papers show that the committee had, in the previous year, expressed “serious concerns about whether his writing was consistent with the spirit of the award.”

    At MasterClass, Margaret Atwood is offering an online course in creative writing.

  • January 11, 2019

    Vulture’s Kat Rosenfield reflects on The Millions, an indie book blog that was recently sold to Publishers Weekly. Although the website has no plans to change its mission or content, “there’s a consensus among readers, writers, publishers, and critics that something has ended,” Rosenfield writes. “If not the Millions itself, then perhaps the culture and era that sustained it: an online Wild West full of hungry readers and exuberant writers still young and innocent enough not to mind working for (almost) free.”

    Linn Ullmann. Photo: Agnete Brun

    The Nieman Foundation has announced its 2019 Visiting Fellows.

    BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel is joining the New York Times opinion section.

    At the New York Times Magazine, Wyatt Mason talks to Linn Ullmann about Ingmar Bergman, anecdotes, and her new book, Unquiet. “I can’t stand anecdotes,” she said, defining them as “a story that’s good for dinner parties” (“I have thousands,” she noted). “Anecdotes . . . elicit a kind of soft response, sweet applause. An anecdote is told many times, honed in a certain way, so that, if it has a rough edge, even that is absolutely palatable. It might elicit tears, a little ‘ah.’”

    “She never volunteers information. . . . She’s totally open, but you’ve got to know exactly how to ask her stuff,” Lili Anolik tells Entertainment Weekly about Eve Babitz, the subject of her new book, Hollywood’s Eve. “ When I started this book, obsession, whatever you want to call it — there was so little out there about her.” Using a borrowed copy of the underground newspaper L.A. Manifesto, Anolik began to contact people in Babitz’s social network. “I fell into rabbit hole after rabbit hole with this because everybody you met was so interesting. You’d get these little stories, these little glimpses.”

  • January 10, 2019

    At Longreads, Tobias Carroll talks to Sarah Moss about borders, Brexit, and her new book, Ghost Wall. “There was a lot of very angry public discourse about walls and boundaries,” she said of the time when she began writing her novel. “Who are the barbarians, and who are the civilized people? Who’s in, and who’s out? Who’s English, and who’s not English? Who’s British, and who’s not British? National myths of origin were very much in my mind while I was there.”

    deborah eisenberg

    Deborah Eisenberg

    Jamel Brinkley’s A Lucky Man, Deborah Eisenberg’s Your Duck is My Duck, and Lauren Groff’s Florida have been nominated for LitHub’s 2018 Story Prize. The winner will be announced in March.

    Journalist Sebastian Modak has been chosen as the New York Times’s 2019 “52 Places Traveler.”

    Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber is leaving the website after nearly twenty-five years. Schreiber had left his role as editor in chief last year but stayed on with the company. “It’s an interesting sensation,” Schreiber told the Los Angeles Times. “I feel at peace with it. As much as it’s been part of my entire adult life and as much fun as I’ve had, I feel like I want to keep pushing boundaries and exploring new things.”

    Refinery29’s editorial staff is unionizing with the Writers Guild of America East. We are proud of working at an outlet that believes in encouraging women to challenge the status quo, in their lives and in the world. We believe that unionizing is the best way, and the feminist answer, to address our workplace issues,” the group explained in a statement. “This way we’ll be able to continue publishing stories and creating content that serve as a catalyst for women to see, feel, and claim their power.”

    Hmm Daily’s Tom Scocca looks at the media’s attempts at fact-checking Trump’s recent televised speech about immigration and the federal government shutdown. “Third-party fact-checking, as the establishment press does it, is the opposite of providing context. It is a process of breaking things apart . . . till they lose their meaning,” he writes. “It purports to be an endpoint or resolution, but the fact-checks become more facts, hastily and indifferently reported ones, to be fed back into the news cycle and misused or misrepresented. Everybody gets Pinocchios; nothing gets to be real.”

  • January 9, 2019

    Lin-Manuel Miranda and three of his collaborators from Hamilton have bought the Drama Book Shop, the New York Times’s Michael Paulson reports. The bookshop has been searching for a new, more affordable space since late last year, something that the new owners intend to help with. The shop will close at the end of the month and reopen at a different Midtown location in the fall. “It’s the chronic problem — the rents were just too high, and I’m 84 years old — I just didn’t have the drive to find a new space and make another move,” said Rozanne Seelen, the current owner, who will stay on as a consultant. “Lin-Manuel and Tommy are my white knights.”

    Kristen Roupenian. Photo: Elisa Roupenian Toha

    The Believer has released the longlist for the magazine’s book awards. Nominees include Brian Dillon’s Essayism, Meghan O’Gieblyn’s Interior States, Helen DeWitt’s Some Trick, and more.

    You Know You Want This author Kristen Roupenian talks to Michelle Cheever about monsters, horror, and going viral. “In a lot of ways, virality is just a thing that happens,” she said of the popularity of her New Yorker short story “Cat Person.” “Things have a certain momentum and then other things happen and algorithms kick in and suddenly something is happening that’s separate from whatever the internal quality of the thing is.”

    Sam Lipsyte, Dana Czapnik, Sarah McColl, Madhuri Vijay, and Karen Thompson Walker all talk to LitHub about their writing process, least-favorite descriptions of their writing, and their respective new books.

    At the New York Times, Brian Morton considers the modern reader’s attitude toward historical authors that held racist, sexist, or otherwise problematic viewpoints during their lifetimes. “It’s as if we imagine an old book to be a time machine that brings the writer to us. We buy a book and take it home, and the writer appears before us, asking to be admitted into our company. If we find that the writer’s views are ethnocentric or sexist or racist, we reject the application, and we bar his or her entry into the present,” he writes “I think we’d all be better readers if we realized that it isn’t the writer who’s the time traveler. It’s the reader. When we pick up an old novel, we’re not bringing the novelist into our world . . . we’re journeying into the novelist’s world and taking a look around.”

  • January 8, 2019

    Sally Rooney. Photo: Jonny L. Davies.

    Sally Rooney has won the Costa Novel Award for Normal People. Rooney is the youngest author ever to win the prize. Other winners include J. O. Morgan’s poetry book Assurances, Bart van Es’s memoir The Cut Out Girl, and Stuart Turton’s debut novelThe Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

    Two hundred Vice employees from the company’s TV and video departments have joined editorial employees in unionizing with the Writers Guild of America East.

    Observer editor in chief Ben Robinson has left the company after ten months. There are no plans to find a replacement, and social media editor Mary von Aue has taken over as editorial director.

    Columbia Journalism Review looks at media coverage of the federal government shutdown. “Shutdowns are always tricky stories for journalists, with complex technical negotiations often hiding behind political grandstanding,” Jon Allsop writes. “This shutdown—now the third-longest in US history—is even trickier, with lies, misleading statistics, and the volatile nature of Trump’s decision-making all thrown into the mix.”

    At The Guardian, Anakana Schofield argues that we should not follow Marie Kondo’s directions to get rid of books that don’t “give us joy.” “Books are not a reflection of our thoughts and values, because more often than not they reflect someone else’s, whether it is Lolita, Mrs Dalloway or Snoopy,” she writes. “Our book collections record the narrative of expansion, diversion, regression, terror and yet-to-be-discovered possibilities of our reading life.”

    In a five-thousand-word email to journalists, Julian Assange outlined over one hundred “false and defamatory statements” about himself that the media should avoid in their reporting, “including that Assange bleaches his hair, that he is a hacker, that he has ever neglected an animal or that he has poor personal hygiene.”

  • January 7, 2019

     

    Jill Abramson

    Jill Abramson

    In her new book, Merchants of Truth, former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson writes that the paper drafted a letter to the Chinese government “all but apologizing” for a story that exposed corruption in the country. The article, by David Barboza and Sharon LaFraniere, went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. Abramson says she confronted the paper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, who agreed to change the letter. But Abramson claims that the letter, even in its amended form, was “still objectionable” for its apologetic tone. The confrontation “strained” Abramson’s relationship with Sulzberger, the former editor writes. She was fired two years later. 

    Being a book writer has never been lucrative, but a new report by the National Authors’ Guild says that the profession “may not even be a livable one anymore.”

    The Guardian reports on the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s new novel, Serotonin, which was released on Friday. The book had a first printing of 320,000 copies—huge in France—and the sixty-two-year-old author received the Légion d’honneur, “France’s highest national honour,” from President Emmanuel Macron. The novel is about “a lovesick agricultural engineer who writes trade reports for the French agriculture ministry and loathes the EU, and offers diatribes against politicians who “do not fight for the interests of their people but are ready to die to defend free trade.”

    Forbes looks at one hundred of the best-selling books of 2018 and uses them to offer insights into current publishing trends, such as: “Fiction bestsellers are mostly crime thrillers,” and “Sci-Fi, fantasy, and romance aren’t popular genres for print anymore.”

    In other trend-spotting news, Publishers’ Weekly lists the biggest news stories of 2018, including “Barnes and Noble stumbles,” “Sexual Harassment Stays in the Headlines,” and “The Agenting Profession Takes a Hit.”

    Michelle Obama’s Becoming was the best-selling title of 2018.

Advertisement