December 13, 2018

New York magazine is unionizing with NewsGuild New York, joining other high-profile publications—including the New Yorker, Vice, and The Guardian—that have organized in recent years. Rebecca Traister, one of New York’s most popular writers, was happy about the effort: “The fact that the industry itself is moving back to collective bargaining is thrilling to me. This is what creates more stability and security for workers.” One of the magazine’s other marquee writers, Jonathan Chait, isn’t convinced it is a good idea, tweeting, “I spent hours talking to unions representatives. I came away from those conversations more, not less, concerned. I don’t know how it will go and I hope I am pleasantly surprised.”

The New York Times writes about the big boost that an appearance on late-night TV can give a novelist. The article notes that Seth Meyers is particularly interested in bringing lesser-known literary authors onto the show, quoting Meyers as saying, “As much as I love having Stephen King or Jonathan Franzen or George Saunders, we also saw it as an opportunity to have diverse writers and writers who are publishing their first or second novel, because this will probably mean more for them than people who are already established.” Myers is not the only host helping the literary cause: When Kevin Young appeared on Trevor Noah’s Daily Show, his book of poetry, Brown, jumped from 2,712 to 335 in the Amazon rankings.  

James Alan McPherson

The San Diego Union Tribune lists the highest-paid authors of 2018. James Patterson topped the list at eighty-six million dollars last year while Michael Wolff joined the elite earners for the first time, making thirteen million dollars for Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, has sold three million copies since its publication four weeks ago. Obama is extending her book tour into 2019.

At LitHub, Marcus Burke remembers his mentor James Alan McPherson on the fortieth anniversary of his Pulitzer Prize win. “Jim’s concerns were global in scope, while remaining connected to an individual’s humanity and truth,” he writes. “In carving out and illustrating the idiosyncrasies of his characters, Jim’s use of floating narration gives full and unflinching consideration to the good, the bad, and the ugly that exists in us all, making the panoramic concern that much more compelling.”

Tonight at the 92nd Street Y, Claudia Rankine talks to Juliana Spahr about her new book, Du Bois’s Telegram: Literary Resistance and State Containment.

Advertisement