• April 5, 2019

    Nicole Chung. Photo: Erica B. Tappis

    The shortlist for the 2019 Albertine Prize has been announced. The nominees are Gaël Faye’s Small Country, Négar Djavadi’s Disoriental, Nathacha Appanah’s Waiting for Tomorrow, Leila Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny, and Éric Vuillard’s The Order of the Day. The prize will be awarded in a ceremony in June.

    At The Guardian, All You Can Ever Know author Nicole Chung explains why stories of transracial adoption, both positive and negative, are so important. “When it comes to the wellbeing of adopted people and their families, the truth will serve far better than even the most comforting of lies,” she writes.

    Time editor in chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal tells CNN that the magazine’s staff has expanded by almost 20 percent since Marc and Lynne Benioff bought it.

    Infinite Detail author Tim Maughan wonders if it’s “possible to take down the internet by physically attacking its infrastructure.”

    Literary Hub collects one-star Amazon reviews of George Orwell’s 1984, in which readers complain about the book being “too political,” “nihilistic,” and “boring.”

    After Buzzfeed’s editorial union tweeted that the company’s management skipped their planned meeting, New York mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that Buzzfeed “didn’t just snub [the union]” but “all working New Yorkers.” In response, the company tweeted, “This process is not going to benefit from the involvement of a deeply unpopular mayor who has expressed an open disdain for journalists during his time in office.”

  • April 4, 2019

    Ruth Reichl. Photo: Michael Singer

    At Columbia Journalism Review, Allison Salerno explains how her own journalistic standards changed after interviewing undocumented immigrants for an article on a municipal policy in Georgia that withholds water service from residents without Social Security numbers.

    On the centennial of his flight from Russia, Stacy Schiff examines the ways that Vladimir Nabokov’s life as a refugee influenced his writing.

    Ruth Reichl talks to the LA Times about money, machismo, and her new book, Save Me the Plums. “I never found the restaurant culture one bit different than the publishing culture. We all knew about this macho culture in restaurants, but there was macho culture in newsrooms too,” she said. “You just took it for granted that men were going to come on to you, talk dirty to you. We accepted it, and we should never have. . . . I’m so happy that women aren’t accepting it anymore.”

    Susan Orlean’s The Library Book has been optioned by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. Orlean will write and produce the series along with director James Ponsoldt.

    New York magazine has promoted features editor Noreen Malone and editor at large Genevieve Smith. Malone will take over as editorial director and Smith will serve as features director.

    Republic of Consciousness Prize winners Will Eaves and Alex Pheby list their ten favorite “fictional works inspired by real lives.”

    Literary Hub’s Emily Temple reflects on the intersection of writing, procrastination, and the Great British Baking Show. “If you’re a writer, there’s a particular charm to this show, even beyond the regular bountiful charm it has for other people,” she writes. “Baking is solitary, sensitive to mistakes, and ultimately a creative endeavor—and if you’re lucky, when you’re done, out pops something that someone else would want to consume. Unlike writing, however, baking is relaxing.”

  • April 3, 2019

    Miriam Toews. Photo: Carol Loewen

    Columbia Journalism Review’s Mathew Ingram wonders if Mark Zuckerberg’s recent Washington Post op-ed calling for regulations on Facebook, as well as a nascent plan to pay publishers for content it posts on the platform, are “a genuine attempt to help media, or another part of a long-running PR campaign by a company desperately afraid of getting caught on the wrong side of antitrust legislation?”

    Adweek reports that Bustle founder Bryan Goldberg, who recently bought Gawker, The Outline, and Mic, has plans to continue expanding his media empire.

    At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Christine Fischer Guy talks to Miriam Toews about religion, forgiveness, and why she chose to have a male narrator in her new book, Women Talking. “In my mind, it was important that it was a male narrator, because I was thinking, it’s time for the men to listen and to record and to stay quiet,” she explained. “It’s time they learn and understand what the women’s lives are, and how they need to change. In the end, the women will write their own stories.”

    “When deciding to share a story of abuse, harassment, or anything on the broad spectrum of transgression, a person is making a journalistic judgment,” writes Nausicaa Renner on #MeToo, first-person essays, and women who choose to come forward with stories of abuse and harassment. “She decides that the newsworthiness of what she has to say—in other words, the importance of speaking out, the potential impact of the story, and the information she would give the public—outweigh whatever harm it might do to her life in the short term.”

    “The editor’s job is to make people think? The people did think; they thought it was a careless and dishonest piece about an important subject,” writes Hmm Daily editor Tom Scocca on former New York Review of Books editor Ian Buruma’s recent defense in the Financial Times of his decision to publish Jian Ghomeshi’s essay. “They thought it replicated, and the decision to publish it likewise replicated, the complacency and contempt and reflexive masculine defensiveness that the movement was seeking to name and bring to account.”

    Tonight at McNally Jackson Books in Manhattan, Geoff Dyer presents his latest book, Broadsword Calling Danny Boy.

  • April 2, 2019

    Irin Carmon

    At New York magazine’s Intelligencer, Irin Cameron wonders why the Washington Post killed her and Amy Britton’s story on 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager’s history of sexual harassment. “I’d believed, in the fevered months of #MeToo, that journalism could swoop in where other institutions had failed to hold big-league abusers accountable,” she writes, recounting her story. “But what would unspool that spring was a lesson beyond any one story or media organization. It was about the limits, despite undeniable progress, of journalistic institutions to tell these stories of sexual misconduct.”

    Politico global editor Matt Kaminski has succeeded John Harris as editor in chief of the publication. In a memo announcing the change, Robert Allbritton explained that Harris will stay with the company in a leadership role.

    Departing Marshall Project editor Bill Keller sat down with Columbia Journalism Review’s Zainab Sultan for an “exit interview.”

    Baby of the Family author Maura Roosevelt offers a reading list on complicated families.

    At Medium’s science and tech publication OneZero, Britta Lokting looks at legacy marijuana publication High Times’s struggle to adapt to a new age of smoking culture. “The irony for High Times is that in an era of weed acceptance and even legalization, the flagship marijuana publication finds itself in a more precarious position than ever,” she writes. “Where the High Times visuals were once defined by slime-green fonts and Ice Cube in a cloud of smoke, modern weed culture can also include a pastel-tinged photo shoot of a cat in a beret with pink macarons for a piece on catnip dispensaries.”

  • April 1, 2019

    Gallery Books is publishing a new book by Meghan Daum this October. The Problem With Everything: A Journey Through the Culture Wars is “about calling out the tribalistic click-bait of the current moment and finding a way back to rational thought and intellectual honesty.” Daum also “offers a crucial theory about the divide between Gen Xers, who fetishize toughness above all, and Millennials, who fetishize fairness.”

    Amy Hempel. Photo: Vicki Topaz

    Former Splinter reporter David Ubert is joining Vice News as a media reporter.

    At Electric Literature, Jennifer Baker talks to Namwali Serpell about the intersection of race and class in literature, metaphors, and her new novel, The Old Drift.

    “I’m always interested in where a writer enters a story,” Amy Hempel tells BOMB. “Someone else would begin, maybe, at the beginning of the relationship. But I often like to begin with a defining moment. Like the moment you realize you loathe something about a person that you initially admired. I like to begin when things are already on the skids.”

    Editorial employes of the websites Pitchfork and Ars Technica have organized with News Guild of New York.

    At Columbia Journalism Review, Jenni Monet looks at why politicians and journalists struggle to “understand matters significant to Indian Country.” “Native Americans suffer from chronic misrepresentation and erasure by an established press,” she explains. “This crisis—a word not used enough to describe Native Americans’ efforts against invisibility—is stoked by the stark absence of Indigenous journalists in newsrooms and further complicated by an Indigenous media largely owned by tribal governments and entities.”

  • March 29, 2019

    John Cook

    Bustle Digital has bought The Outline, Recode reports. Bustle founder Bryan Goldberg first met with Outline founder Josh Topolsky last fall. “I went into the conversation with high skepticism — ‘Okay, let’s hear this bullshit,’” Toplosky said. “I did not go into the room expecting for us to hit it off.” Topolsky says that he will continue to run the website and that his current staff will join him.

    Former Gawker executive editor John Cook is joining Business Insider as investigations editor.

    The Marshall Project has launched a print publication. News Inside will be distributed in jails and prisons in nineteen states.

    Vice Media has struck a deal to settle its gender pay gap lawsuit. The company will pay $1.875 million to the women involved in the class action lawsuit.

    Drew Broussard reports from a Williamsburg dinner inspired by Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf. “‘Lemongrass, fish, and blood,’ our menu/bookmarks say—but what does that mean?” he asks of a soup served at the beginning of the evening. “Are we to dash this leaf full of reddish liquid into the soup? Am I actually tasting the iron tang of blood or is that just a confirmation bias? Does it really matter?”

  • March 28, 2019

    Marcel Proust TV show

    Marcel Proust

    The Mueller Report hasn’t been made public, and it remains unclear if it ever will be, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a number-one bestseller on Amazon. If the report is released, Simon and Schuster is ready to publish it, and created placeholder pages that announce the book. As Publishing Perspectives points out, those placeholder announcements do not indicate how many pages the book will be—because no one in the publishing world knows how long the report actually is.

    Cafe Loup, the West Village bar and bistro that has for years been a go-to for people who work in the publishing industry, has closed its doors (again). The restaurant was a hangout for writers such as Christopher Hitchens, who once devoted one of his Vanity Fair columns to the place.

    Susan Page’s The Matriarch, a biography of Barbara Bush, reveals that the former First Lady said in interviews shortly before her death that Trump caused her “angst” during the 2016 elections. Asked if she still considered herself a Republican after Trump’s election, Bush stated: “I’d probably say no today.” The Matriarch will be released by Twelve Books on April 2.

    French director Guillaume Gallienne (Me, Myself and Mum) is planning to adapt Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time into a TV miniseries.

    The AWP conference gets fully under way today in Portland, Oregon, with morning yoga and a range of talks about writing—writing about “women’s rites of passages,” writing about vulnerable populations, writing about end times, writing autobiography, writing grants. And much more.

  • March 27, 2019

    Claudia Rankine

    Graywolf has acquired a new book by Claudia Rankine. Just Us: An American Conversation will be an essay collection that interrogates “white privilege, well-meaning liberal politics, white male aggression, the implications of blondness,” and many more aspects of white supremacy in American culture. Just Us will be published in September 2020.

    Medium deputy editor Katie Drummond is joining Vice as senior vice president of Vice Digital. Drummond was previously the executive editor of the Outline and editor in chief of Gizmodo. At Nieman Lab, Laura Hazard Owen explores Medium’s history and wonders if the company’s most recent search for publishing partners will be effective.

    Former New York Times editor Susan Chira has been selected as the new editor in chief of the Marshall Project.

    The New York Times talks to Damon Young about economic insecurity, interrogating memory, and his new memoir, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker. “In order to write a compelling memoir, I had to tell the truth. And the truth is unflattering. The truth is embarrassing. But that truth is also human,” he said. “So whenever I have those critiques about toxic masculinity, I am not absolving myself. I am not saying, you guys need to do better, it’s ‘we.’ I don’t want to position myself as some sort of singular beacon of progress, because I’m not that at all. I am still definitely a work in progress.”

    Nathan Englander has a hypothesis for why writers work best at certain times of the day. “I ask writers when they worry and when they write, and it’s usually on opposite ends of the day,” he explains. “The insomniacs, who suffer at night but wake up all cheery (or as cheery as writers get), compose in the morning. And those of us who pass out as soon as our heads hit the pillows, but wake up feeling the weight of the world, we do better being creative in the afternoons.”

    Jason Zengerle profiles Matt Latimer and Keith Urbahn, founders of DC literary agency Javelin, which specializes in tell-alls from departing Trump administration officials. Unlike previous presidential employees, Trump officials are now seen as “controversial” hires in the private sector and “have a hard time even getting job interviews.” Instead, departing employees are turning to the tell-all memoir to rebrand. “A juicy memoir not only stands to earn a former Trump official a small fortune, thanks to an unprecedented interest in administration intrigue. It also gives officials an opportunity to reposition and redeem themselves,” Zengerle explains. “A lot of them are trying to figure out: How do I make something out of this for my own well-being?” Latimer says. “But also: How do I distance myself from this guy?”

  • March 26, 2019

    Journalist and former New Yorker fact-checker Talia Lavin has sold a book on right-wing extremists to Hachette. Culture Warlords will be “an account of ‘a mouthy Jewish broad from New York’ and her encounters with the byzantine online world of white supremacists, tracing the movement’s growth, schisms, and the threat it poses to the 2020 election.”

    Mira Jacob

    Melville House is publishing the Mueller Report as its first mass-market paperback ever. Skyhorse Publishing and Scribner are also planning on publishing their own versions of the report.

    At BOMB, Emily Raboteau talks to Mira Jacob about privacy, VH1’s Pop-Up Video, and her new graphic memoir, Good Talk. Besides Pop-Up Video, Jacobs found inspiration in everything from Riot Grrrrl zines, paper doll books, and the Still Processing podcast. “Whenever I felt like I had something I could not possibly write, I would listen to Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris wade into a difficult conversation with love and patience for each other,” she explained. “It made me realize how important it was to believe in us—the many of us out there ready to talk about and hear and hold onto the hard parts.”

    Nieman Reports examines the root causes of the “recent burst of media unionization.”

    The Verge’s Angela Chen talks to Clive Thompson about efficiency, the difference between coding and writing, and his new book, Coders. “When you’re coding and you’ve created a tool for yourself, when it starts working and it’s running and doing what I need it to do, no one can say the thing’s not working. It is! It is objectively working,” he said. “It is doing what I told it to do and it’ll do it until the sun explodes and electricity runs out. There’s no such finality in writing.”

  • March 25, 2019

    Fran Lebowitz

    Fran Lebowitz

    The finalists for this year’s Pulitzer Prizes, which will be announced on April 15, haven’t been made public, but at Vanity Fair, Joe Pompeo speculates on which journalists are currently considered to be the top contenders (Carlos Lozado and Jill Lepore are favorites for criticism). As for nonfiction books, John Carreyrou’s best-selling Bad Blood, about the scandal-ridden billion-dollar blood-testing company Theranos, “is a strong candidate for nonfiction books.”

    Critic Sasha Frere-Jones has started a new blogletter in which he “will be writing about books, performances, albums, bagels, songs, time, bagels, oil paint, coffee, film crews on Avenue B, bagels, and myself, because I am a person and I have a brain and that’s going to be the case.”  

    Fran Lebowitz talks with Rachel Tashjian about #MeToo (“I believe every single woman”), her “addiction” to reading (“Reading is not good for me, because I’ve spent my life doing that instead of writing”), whether she will publish another book (“I think it’s more likely than not”), and her friendship with Toni Morrison, with whom she talks every day. “She has the greatest generosity of anyone I’ve ever known,” Lebowitz says of Morrison. “So it’s not only her intelligence, which is extreme.”

    Pete Buttigieg—the South Bend, Indiana, mayor and now a Democratic presidential candidate—explains why running for president is like James Joyce’s Ulysses: “Its subject matter couldn’t be more democratic. It’s about a guy going about his day for one day. . . . You’re in this guy’s head, and you’re kind of seeing life through his eyes, and at the end through his wife’s eyes. That’s how politics ought to be, too. The reason any of this stuff matters is that it affects us in the everyday. And I think the greatest literature, whether it’s Ulysses or Mahfouz, when it touches politics, it’s about how politics can make our everyday better or worse. And I think that same understanding of the imperative and the primacy of lived experience ought to be how our politics works.”

    As Ali Smith’s Spring—the third in a quartet of novels that draws on political events and Shakespeare—is about to be released, the Scottish novelist reflects on the current situation in the UK: “The UK will disunite, and Ireland will reunite. But all of this will be irrelevant—all our nationalisms are nothing in the face of climate change,” she notes. But she has hope: “This young generation is amazing. They’re showing us that we need to change and we can change. That’s the exciting thing about being human.”

    Lawrence Ferlinghetti—the legendary Beat poet and co-founder of City Lights Bookstore—celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday.

    Europa Editions (the American publisher of Elena Ferrante) has bought the rights to three novels by Japanese author Mieko Kawakami. The first of the titles, Breast and Eggs, has sold more than 250,000 copies in Japan and will be released in the US in 2020. Haruki Murakami has said of the book that it is “so amazing it took my breath away.”

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