• September 18, 2014


    Alison Bechdel

    Alison Bechdel

    The MacArthur awards have been announced. Among the writers are Alison Bechdel, author of the illustrated memoirs Fun Home and Are You My Mother?; Samuel D. Hunter, who wrote the play The Whale; and Terrance Hayes, a poet.

    The 2014 National Book Awards nonfiction longlist names Anand Gopal, Walter Isaacson, Edward O. Wilson, Evan Osnos, and John Lahr, among others. Notably, only one book written by a woman makes the list of ten: Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?. Chast’s nomination is notable for another reason too: This is the first time a cartoonist has been among the nonfiction selections.

    Scottish people are voting today on a referendum that could lead to Scotland becoming an independent country. J.K. Rowling and Denise Mina are against the referendum, the LA Times reports. Rowling explains: “If we leave, though, there will be no going back. This separation will not be quick and clean: it will take microsurgery to disentangle three centuries of close interdependence, after which we will have to deal with three bitter neighbours.” A. L. Kennedy, Irvine Welsh, and Val McDermid, on the other hand, are all in favor: “Yes is the progressive vote,” Kennedy says. “It continues the vast expression of disillusion that produced a landslide protest vote for Scotland’s only non-Westminster party.”

    The HarperCollins imprint Ecco has acquired the forthcoming book ISIS: The State of Terror, coauthored by Jessica Stern (Denial: A Memoir of Terror,Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill) and J.M. Berger (Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam). The book—which will not only report on ISIS’s history but also explore international responses to the group—will be published in January of 2015.

    Three months after becoming SPIN’s editor in chief, Craig Marks has parted ways with the publication.

    In another change of the guard, the editor in chief of the New Republic, Chris Hughes, has announced that he is stepping down. Hughes will become executive chairman instead, and stay on as publisher. No one will be appointed editor in chief in his place; instead, Franklin Foer will handle editorial content and strategy in his current capacity as editor. Hughes has hired Guy Vidra as the magazine’s first CEO.