• October 31, 2017

    Jacqueline Woodson. Photo: Marty Umans

    Jacqueline Woodson talks to Entertainment Weekly about her new two-book deal with Riverhead. Woodson’s last book, Another Brooklyn, was her first work of adult fiction in twenty years. “I think it’s much harder to write for young people than it is to write for adults,” she said. “You have to go back to that place of being a young person yourself and so many adults have either deliberately forgotten that place (probably because it was too painful a time to hold onto) or they just can’t access it.”

    The Guardian speculates on who might be in the running for the next editor of Vanity Fair. Two months after Graydon Carter resigned, the magazine has yet to announce his replacement.

    Little, Brown editor Tracy Behar is starting her own imprint with the publisher. Behar’s still-unnamed imprint will launch next year and focus on health, psychology, and science.

    Kristopher Jansma looks at Clarice Lispector’s final novel, A Breath of Life, which was published after her death and assembled by the late author’s friend and assistant, Olga Borelli. Hired by Lispector after a fire destroyed all of the author’s unfinished work, Borelli “dedicated her life to the remainder of Lispector’s,” Jansma writes. “She cared for her, talked with her, comforted her, and played a singular hand in the construction of her late works, editing and arranging them from disparate fragments.”

    Hamilton Fish, publisher of the New Republic, is taking a leave of absence after a number of female employees reported that Fish “created an uncomfortable environment for them,” according to a letter from owner Win McCormack.

    Nick Denton reflects on the impact of Gawker’s early reporting on rumors and gossip about sexual harassment in the media and entertainment industries—including on Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, among others—and how those posts paved the way for outlets like the New York Times and the New Yorker. “Those first accounts of sexual harassment — even if anonymous or thinly sourced — give confidence to victims that they are not alone,” he writes. “Gossip, though it draws those motivated by envy and resentment, is also a tool of the powerless.”

  • October 30, 2017

    Philip Roth

    Philip Roth

    Why the French love Philip Roth.

    The Sh*tty Men in Media list began as a private, anonymously crowdsourced document meant to warn women about men who had been accused of sexual harassment. It was, writes Madison Malone Kircher at New York magazine, meant “more as a shield than a weapon.” But that didn’t last long. Though the list has been taken down from Reddit, screenshots are circulating online. “It’s now being leaked and distributed not to protect women from predators but to publicly attack the men on it,” Kircher writes. One person who has sought to “weaponize” the list is ultra-right-wing blogger Mike Cernovich, who offered $10,000 for a copy of the list.

    The Center Will Not Hold, Griffin Dunne’s documentary about Joan Didion, his aunt, is now streaming on Netflix.

    Colin Kaepernick, the ex-quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who spearheaded the NFL protests during the National Anthem, has signed a $1 million book deal with Random House imprint One World.

    The Wall Street Journal editorial board has accused Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party of colluding with the Russians.

    Ron Chernow—the Pulitzer-winning author of Alexander Hamilton, the biography on which the blockbuster Broadway musical is based—talks about his new book about the life and times of the US general and president (and drunkard) Ulysses S. Grant.

  • October 27, 2017

    The Environmental Protection Agency has accused the New York Times of writing “elitist clickbait trying to attack qualified professionals committed to serving their country.” The comment was in response to Eric Lipton’s story, “Why Has the E.P.A. Shifted on Toxic Chemicals? An Industry Insider Helps Call the Shots.” The spokesperson who sent the message, Liz Bowman, had previously been employed at the American Chemistry Council, a trade association for chemical companies. She told Erik Wemple that she is happy to cooperate with reporters, but feels that Lipton is biased: “There are a lot of reporters at the New York Times that we are happy to work with. In this particular case, it was clear that Lipton was acting on behalf of other officials with an ax to grind. It was clear he was not going to change his mind and certainly would not produce a balanced story.” The Times is giving readers a chance to decide for themselves, if they’re willing to wade through a lot of paperwork: the publication posted 374 pages of annotated reporting notes for the story, including answers from Bowman to reporters’ detailed questions.  

    HBO and Penguin Press are both cancelling projects with Mark Halperin in the wake of sexual harassment allegations by five women. Halperin is also resigning from his job as a political analyst for MSNBC.

    Jennifer Egan

    Jennifer Eagan, whose new book, Manhattan Beach, takes place in the years before and during World War II, tells the Dallas News about one advantage to writing historical fiction: “I think part of what appealed to me about writing about the ’30s and ’40s was the idea of just eliminating technology in the form that I’m often obsessed. It was wonderful to just get rid of it.”


    As part of New York magazine’s fiftieth-anniversary issue, Christian Lorentzen writes about New York literary parties and shares what he’s learned over the years: “Never go to a networking event. Poetry readings are either the best or the worst things. You can skip any book party because they only happen once, they end too soon, and there’s no narrative to them, especially if you’re not there. . . . The best way to befriend famous people is to have no idea who they are.”

    More than 6,000 letters written by Marcel Proust will be posted online next year.

    Tonight at Book Culture in Manhattan, Brit Bennett reads from his debut novel, The Mothers

  • October 26, 2017

    Margaret Atwood. Photo: George Whiteside

    Margaret Atwood’s book Alias Grace will be a Netflix miniseries written and produced by Sarah Polley. The show will premiere on November 3rd and follows the successful adaptation of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which won an Emmy for best drama this year. Atwood told the New York Times, “No one else would’ve asked me to do this but Sarah Polley. . . . Both Sarah and I are interested in what is true and what is not true. I think she liked that a lot of my films have characters crossed with madness. And she knew I wouldn’t try to make ‘Downton Abbey.’” Atwood also hinted that at least two more adaptations of her books may be on the way, but wouldn’t give any further details, saying, “We will not talk about them until they’re real.”

    Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s book Conscience of a Conservative has gotten a big sales bump after his speech on Tuesday in which he strongly criticized the president and said he wouldn’t run for reelection.

    Elizabeth Bruenig is joining the Washington Post Opinions section as a staff writer and editor.

    Longreads has an excerpt of Richard Lloyd Parry’s harrowing new book, Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone, which details the 2011 emergency and its aftermath: “I met a priest in northern Japan who exorcised the spirits of people who had drowned in the tsunami. The ghosts did not appear in large numbers until autumn of that year, but Reverend Kaneta’s first case of possession came to him after less than a fortnight.”

    Tonight at the Center for Fiction, Barbara Browning will read from her recent book, The Gift, present video art related to her fiction, and meet with audience members.

  • October 25, 2017

    Mother Jones’s Andy Kroll looks into the history of Sinclair Broadcasting, which will be in 72 percent of American households after it buys Tribune Media’s television stations. The company has close ties to the Trump administration and requires their stations to run segments by former Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn. According Kroll, the network’s conservative viewpoints have become more prominent as the company has expanded. Currently, “stations are required to air terrorism alerts daily,” and “responded to criticism of its must-run Boris Epshteyn segments by tripling the number of times stations are mandated to air them each week.”

    James Frey

    Filmmakers Aaron and Sam Taylor-Johnson are working on a film adaptation of A Million Little Pieces, James Frey’s controversial memoir.

    Jezebel is hiring former Vogue.com executive editor Koa Beck to replace editor-in-chief Emma Carmichael, who announced her departure from the site last summer.

    BuzzFeed News has sent a memo to employees outlining the company’s plans to deal with workplace sexual harassment after numerous staff members were said to be found on the “Shitty Media Men” Google spreadsheet. “We know that we thrive individually and collectively when everyone at BuzzFeed feels safe and respected,” Chief People Officer Lenke Taylor wrote in the letter. “We do not tolerate harassment of any kind.”

    Idea, the soon-to-publish magazine headed by former New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier, has been closed after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him.

    Tonight at Albertine in Manhattan, Christophe Boltanski will discuss his debut novel, Safe House, with A.M. Homes.  

  • October 24, 2017

    The bankruptcy of the Alaska News Dispatch should serve as “a cautionary tale that shows the limits of what a wealthy owner is willing, or able, to do for a struggling newspaper in the digital era,” writes William D. Cohan. Owner Alice Rogoff, wife of Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, bought the newspaper in 2014, but filed for bankruptcy earlier this year after being unable to keep up with the paper’s mounting debts. “Creating indispensable journalism—whether at the local or national level—is not without cost,” Cohan concludes. “If people aren’t willing to pay for it, like they pay for the Internet or cell-phone service, then it will surely disappear, sometimes right before your eyes.”

    Joseph O’Neill

    Fourth Estate is publishing a story collection by Joseph O’Neill. Good Trouble will include O’Neill’s work from the New Yorker, Harper’s magazine, and elsewhere.

    At the Paris Review, Paul Youngquist reviews Blade Runner 2049, based on the work of Philip K. Dick, calling it “an allegory of contemporary race relations.” “The Blade Runner movies rehabilitate the replicant, turning it into an image of life subordinated, denied its sacredness. Replicant lives matter,” he writes. “Convincing humans to accept it, however, will take some doing.”

    After BuzzFeed news exposed Milo Yiannopoulos’s ties to white nationalist groups, Steve Bannon has said that he will no longer work with him.

    Actress Anna Faris talks to the New York Times about her new memoir, Unqualified.

    Gizmodo has confirmed that Twitter user Reinhold Niebuhr is former FBI Director James Comey.

    Marie Claire talks to Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story. The magazine writes that the journalists’ biggest motivation to break the story were their own daughters. “I’d sit with my baby girl before work every morning and say, ‘Mom is going to the office to do something really important,’” Twohey said. “It will hopefully make the world a safer place for girls like you.”

  • October 23, 2017

    PW recently asked women who work in book publishing if they’ve experienced sexual harassment, assault, or predatory behavior in the workplace. “We found that in spite of publishing’s high percentage of female workers (it’s estimated at roughly 80%), the industry still has a sexual harassment problem.”

    Simon and Schuster has announced that it will publish John McCain’s new memoir, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations, in April.

    Madonna's book "Sex"

    Madonna’s book “Sex”

    BuzzFeed looks back at Madonna’s book Sex, the bestselling, fifty-dollar coffee-table book was published twenty-five years ago.

    On the occasion of the publication of Jo Baker’s Longburn, a new novel about Samuel Beckett, Tim Parks makes this request: “Leave novelists out of fiction.” You’re better off going directly to the source. After quoting Beckett’s novel Watt, Parks notes: “Extraordinary how Beckett, taking an axe to the relation between words and things, conveys and entertains so much more than the novelist who confidently puts words to his inner thoughts.”


    Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad has won the 2017 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Fiction Award.


  • October 20, 2017

    Vogue magazine and Vice are joining up to create Project Vs, a website and branding exchange that will launch early next year. A Vice spokesman explained the project this way: “What started as a slow dance collaboration has quickly become a high speed collision between Vice and Vogue, juxtaposing the many social, political and cultural tensions of our times to create a capsule commentary on the world we live in.”

    On Literary Hub’s fiction/non/fiction podcast, Whitney Terrell, V.V. Ganeshananthan, Jia Tolentino, and Claire Vaye Watkins discuss the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    As part of the T: The New York Times Style Magazine’s “Greats” issue, Dave Eggers profiles Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adiche, the author of the novel Americanah and a MacArthur Foundation fellow, recalls her parents reaction to her decision to quit medical school and become a writer: “Nobody just leaves medical school, especially given it’s fiercely competitive to get in. But I had a sister who was a doctor, another who was a pharmacist, a brother who was an engineer. So my parents already had sensible children who would be able to make an actual living, and I think they felt comfortable sacrificing their one strange child.”

    Ana Marie Cox is leaving her post as the New York Times’s Talk columnist after two years on the job.

    George Saunders talks to The Independent a few days after winning the Man Booker prize for his novel, Lincoln in the Bardo: “Having a panel of judges approve of what you’re doing is really empowering in the sense that you think ‘my instincts aren’t totally fucked up, I must have some sort of idea what to do.’”

    Tonight in Brooklyn at the Books are Magic bookshop, Emma Donoghue talks about her novel The Wonder, which just came out in paperback.

  • October 19, 2017

    The non-profit feminist organization Vida: Women in Literary Arts has released the results of their 2016 Count, a survey that tallies the gender of contributors to literary magazines.

    In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, The Cut is publishing stories by women about the sexual harassment and assault they’ve experienced. The latest comes from Emma Cline, author of the novel The Girls, who details the gendered violence she’s faced. Cline writes about the ways in which women’s stories of abuse are minimized or explained away, noting that women often have little choice but to stay silent or remain friendly with their abusers: “It’s like teaching someone how to play a game and then punishing them when they follow the rules; women would act differently if we believed there was any other way to escape unharmed from the whims of men. We’re navigating a society defined by them, and suffering for it. Yet we’re blamed for our attempts to survive within those parameters.”

    Sam Shepard

    Knopf is publishing a novel by Sam Shepard, the playwright, actor, and screenwriter, who died this summer at the age of seventy-three. Spy of the First Person will be released in December.

    In 2013, Joe Hagan teamed up with Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone, to write an authorized biography of Wenner’s life. Two previous attempts at an authorized account had been abandoned, as Wenner objected to how he was portrayed. Now that Hagan’s Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine has just been published, Wenner is, predictably, making his displeasure known, telling the New York Times: “Rock and roll set me and my generation free musically, socially and politically. My hope was that this book would provide a record for future generations of that extraordinary time. Instead, he produced something deeply flawed and tawdry.”

    Tonight at apex art in Manhattan, Albert Mobilio’s free reading series “Double Take” continues. The evening will feature Forrest Gander and Lucy Ives on miracles and disasters, Dominic Pettman and Merritt Symes on Chicken Little, and Elissa Schappell and Rob Spillman on meditation.

  • October 18, 2017

    George Saunders

    George Saunders has won the Man Booker prize for his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. The Guardian’s Justine Jordan writes that while the decision to give the award to two Americans in a row might bother some, Saunders’s book was the right choice for this year. “At a time when America is notably divided, the book drills down to its early rupture,” she writes. “In this book there is warmth mixed into the weirdness, moral force behind the grotesquerie, and wild humour amid the tragedy.”

    Natalie Hopkinson examines the Man Booker’s dark history. The prize was founded by the Booker family, who amassed their fortune through sugar plantations and slave labor in Guyana in the early nineteenth century. After slavery was abolished, the family convinced the government to compensate slaveholders for their losses with a twenty-million pound bailout, and continued to use indentured workers. “By all means, let’s celebrate the literary excellence achieved by George Saunders and all the nominees of this year’s Man Booker Prize,” Hopkinson writes. “As we do, let’s recognize the people who have paid its price.”

    At Electric Literature, Rebecca Schuh talks to Claire Messud about boundaries, perception, and her new book, The Burning Girl. The novel’s characters spend their time at an abandoned women’s asylum, a setting that Messud chose for its complicated nature. “Refugees seek asylum. It’s the same word as the insane asylum,” she explained. “But it is a sort of refuge, and for me there was some sort of metaphorical narrative too, about the girls literally going into the woods, going into their subconscious, going into a shared place of childhood play that is safe and free, and is at the same time the darkest places with this terrible history, this history of suffering.”

    As the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election continues, the New York Times writes that China sees “a powerful affirmation of the country’s vision for the internet.” With anonymous accounts prohibited and many foreign news outlets blocked, China’s extreme internet censorship also makes it harder for foreign powers to mount propaganda campaigns directed at its citizens. One man “described China’s system not as ‘Big Brother’ so much as a younger brother,” protecting its siblings “from harmful material.”

    Tonight at the Brooklyn Public Library, Darryl Pinckney moderates a discussion of The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick.