• February 8, 2019

    Jill Abramson. Photo: Peter Yang

    Dan Mallory, the pseudonymous author of The Woman in the Window who was recently exposed by the New Yorker for lying about his health and past, will publish a second novel with HarperCollins UK, The Guardian reports. “Professionally, Dan was a highly valued editor and the publication of The Woman in the Window – a Sunday Times bestseller – speaks for itself,” the publisher said in a statement.

    Reporter Jim DeRogatis, who has spent decades investigating the accusations against R. Kelly, is working on a book about the allegations against singer. Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly will be published by Abrams in June.

    New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang have sold an untitled book about Facebook based on their article “Delay, Deny, and Deflect” to HarperCollins for a reported seven-figure advance, Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo reports.

    Vice correspondent Michael Moynihan has found numerous instances of plagiarism in Jill Abramson’s new book, Merchants of Truth. Columbia Journalism Review’s Mathew Ingram reflects on being one of the sources of Abramson’s plagiarized material. Do I feel as though something has been stolen from me? Not really,” he writes. “And yet, it’s still irritating that there seems to be no mention of where it appeared at all. Would it have been that hard to say ‘as mentioned in CJR’?” In response, Abramson told the Washington Post that she is reviewing her book for uncited or misattributed information. “I wouldn’t want even a misplaced comma so I will promptly fix these footnotes and quotations as I have corrected other material that Vice contested,” she said.

    At Columbia Journalism review, Spencer Dukoff details his experience of being a young person working in journalism. At twenty-six, Dukoff has been laid off three times in the three years since he began his career. “When I entered the industry, I thought that bloodletting was a natural result of publishers failing to evolve. I was horribly naive,” he writes. “I’ve now realized I had a front-row seat for the decision-making processes and warped priorities of publishers, who chase scale with abandon, pay gobs of money for traffic, and preach an ethos of independence while quietly maneuvering toward a lucrative exit for themselves following a merger or acquisition.”

  • February 7, 2019

    Reniqua Allen. Photo: Nina Subin

    Craigslist founder Craig Newmark is donating $10 million to the Columbia Journalism School to endow the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security.

    Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving a life sentence for drug trafficking until Kim Kardashian convinced Donald Trump to commute her sentence, is writing a memoir. After Life: My Journey From Incarceration to Freedom, which includes a foreword by Kardashian, will be published by HarperCollins in May.

    R.O. Kwon and Esmé Weijun Wang discuss ambition, writer’s block, and karaoke.

    At Longreads, Danielle Jackson talks to Reniqua Allen about burnout, millennials, and her new book, It Was All a Dream: A New Generation Confronts the Broken Promise to Black America. “Our experiences aren’t always equal, and even though we may end up in the same place, we’ve probably been tired since college or high school,” Allen said of the difference between white and Black millennial burnout. “So that burnout that everyone complains about? Double it up. . . . We’re also talking about how we have to prove our humanity. That’s exhausting in a different type of way. We should be tired of telling people that Black people matter.”

  • February 6, 2019

    Ottessa Moshfegh

    The 2019 Wellcome Prize longlist has been announced. Nominees include Thomas Page McBee’s Amateur, Tara Westover’s Educated, and Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation. The winner announced in May.

    PEN America has announced the winners of this year’s nomination-based literary awards. Honorees, including Sandra Cisneros and Larissa Fasthorse among others, will receive their prizes at a ceremony later this month.

    Netflix has ordered a series based on Karin Slaughter’s 2018 crime novel, Pieces of Her.

    At LitHub, Bowlaway author Elizabeth McCracken considers the doughnut. “Like most works of art, doughnuts are defined by an absence,” she writes. “They are modest and hollow. They belong to anyone.”

    After a New Yorker profile accused author and editor Dan Mallory “of a long history of falsehoods around his professional history and health,” The Woman in the Window author has admitted that he lied about his brain cancer diagnosis, The Guardian reports. “I felt intensely ashamed of my psychological struggles – they were my scariest, most sensitive secret,” Mallory said in a statement. “I was utterly terrified of what people would think of me if they knew – that they’d conclude I was defective in a way that I should be able to correct, or, worse still, that they wouldn’t believe me. Dissembling seemed the easier path.”

    The New York Times’s Jaclyn Peiser looks at how AI is being used by journalists at Bloomberg News. Cyborg, a company system that “is able to assist reporters in churning out thousands of articles” helps create a third of all published work on Bloomberg News. “The program can dissect a financial report the moment it appears and spit out an immediate news story that includes the most pertinent facts and figures,” Peiser explains. “And unlike business reporters, who find working on that kind of thing a snooze, it does so without complaint.”


  • February 5, 2019

    In an essay at LitHub, Marlon James explores why he has written extensively about his father, but never about his mother. “She was the one always there, and yet the one harder to write about. It’s easy to spin a clever fiction about my father. Not so easy to string words about my mom, the person who applied bandages and bought schoolbooks, but also the adult often around during long stretches of holiday boredom. Even on a purely linguistic level, ‘the man who wasn’t there’ sounds sexier than ‘the woman who was always present,’” he explains. “But there goes my daddy again, hijacking a story about my mother.”

    Morgan Parker. Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

    Jami Attenberg talks to Entertainment Weekly about death, family, and her upcoming novel, All This Could Be Yours.

    “I think the space of the poem really lends itself to exploring all the levels of Black culture. That’s really what I’m aiming to to do, is explore the simultaneity of Blackness, and a multiplicity of Blackness, the way that the past and present interact with each other and inform each other, and the way they’re both situated at the front of our brains as Black people,” Morgan Parker tells The Rumpus about her new poetry collection, Magical Negro. “There’s more playfulness in poems than in any other genre, and that feels really central to the way I’m trying to describe Blackness as this slippery and simultaneously dark and brilliant thing.”

    Marie Myung-Ok Lee reflects on the proliferation of autistic characters in literature and questions the use of “the disorder as a metaphor or plot device.”

    At Longreads, Jacqueline Alnes compiles a reading list on the intersection of athletic competition and mental health. “Many athletes struggle with mental health issues, but the culture of sport — especially at the top tiers of competition — often emphasizes physical performance over holistic wellbeing,” she writes. “The culture is changing in ways, yes, but the rhetoric of athlete’s ‘overcoming’ anything is still deeply ingrained in the language of coaches, and the way athletes speak to themselves.”

  • February 4, 2019

    Marianne Williamson 2020

    Marianne Williamson

    Bestselling author Marianne Williamson, who ran for congress in California in 2014, has announced that she is running for president as a Democrat in the 2020 elections. Williamson is the author of A Return to Love, in which she reflects on the spiritual guidebook A Course in Miracles, and many other books, and has also become well known as a public speaker. Williamson is calling for a “moral and spiritual awakening in the US,” and has vowed to fight the “amoral economic system” and the “layers of systemic racism” in the US. She also believes in universal health care, free higher education, and a “green New Deal.”

    Former Vanity Fair EIC Graydon Carter is launching a digital news platform called AirMail, intended for worldly cosmopolitans, with former New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley. AirMail will begin this summer, and will be sent to subscribers as a weekly newsletter. There will also be stories and podcasts on the website, AirMail.news.

    Appearing at the Hay Cartagena festival in Colombia, Zadie Smith gave a talk in which she noted that “identity is a pain in the arse.” ““If someone says to me: ‘A black girl would never say that,’ I’m saying: ‘How can you possibly know?’ The problem with that argument is it assumes the possibility of total knowledge of humans.” The novelist-essayist also warned her audience against using social media as a way to “know” and define others. “We are being asked to be consistent as humans over great swathes of time. People are searching through social media. But everyone is changing all the time.”

    Erik Wemple imagines how the late media columnist and Night of the Gun author David Carr would respond to Trump’s claim that he’s losing money.

    Between 1965 and his death in 2010, J.D. Salinger continued to write, but showed his work to no one. Now his son says that almost all of the author’s never-before-seen work is being prepared for publication. “My father was writing for fifty years without publishing,” says Matt Salinger. “That’s a lot of material.”

  • February 1, 2019

    Jenny Xie. Photo: Teresa Mathew

    The Dylan Thomas Prize longlist has been announced. Nominees include Sally Rooney, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Emma Glass, and Jenny Xie. The shortlist will be announced in April, and the winner announced in May.

    Marlon James talks to the New York Times “By the Book” column about holograms, fantasy novels, and the “ridiculous convention” of genre. “Growing up in Jamaica in the ’70s and ’80s, I never had the privilege of discriminating against books,” he explained. “I read whatever my friends’ parents tossed out, from Leon Uris, to John le Carré, to James Clavell, to my beloved Jackie Collins. I didn’t even realize I was supposed to view ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ as a different kind of work from Gilbert Hernandez’s ‘Palomar’ until I entered a lit class.”

    Rivka Galchen talks to Territory of Light translator Geraldine Harcourt about translating Yuko Tsushima’s novel.

    New York Media has recognized the company’s editorial union. “We’re committed to working with the guild and all of you to make sure this place is a warm, exciting, rewarding, collaborative place to work,” incoming editor in chief David Haskell said in a statement.

    In a leaked conversation published by Splinter, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti implored staff to stop leaking conversations about the company’s recent layoffs to the media. “If people can understand that leaking actually isn’t just about hurting someone maybe that they’re upset at [at] the company . . . but hurts their peers and makes it harder for everyone to get information, and makes it harder for the company to be transparent, that we will drastically reduce leaks,” he told staff. “I also could imagine that little speech that I just shared being leaked . . . the ironic leak is one of the great genres of leaks.”

  • January 31, 2019

    Maurice Carlos Ruffin

    At the Paris Review, Peyton Burgess talks to Maurice Carlos Ruffin about survivalists, white supremacy, and his new book, We Cast a Shadow. “The thing is, I believe that America is the greatest country on earth, yet we always have multiple layers of injustice that are operating at any given time,” Ruffin said. “When I was writing this book in 2012, President Obama was constantly shipping immigrants out of the country. Now it’s to the point of taking kids from their parents—and for half of America that’s still no big deal.”

    LitHub’s Gabrielle Bellot reflects on Edwidge Danticat, Albert Camus, and “the art of exile.”

    Cameron Shenassa looks at the “new literature of the Midwest,” found in books like Ling Ma’s Severance, Meghan O’Gieblyn’s Interior States, and Andrea Lawlor’s Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, that “go beyond nostalgia to look toward the future.”

    The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan details the problems with the “middle-lane” or “both sides” style of news reporting. “Impartiality is still a value worth defending in mainstream news coverage,” she writes. “But you don’t get there by walking down the center line with a blindfold on.”

    “Coming in a time of economic prosperity, at world-historical levels of interest in the news, last week’s cuts tell a story of impending slow-motion doom — and a democratic emergency in the making, with no end in sight,” writes Farhad Manjoo on recent layoffs at BuzzFeed and HuffPost, among others. “The cause of each company’s troubles may be distinct, but collectively the blood bath points to the same underlying market pathology: the inability of the digital advertising business to make much meaningful room for anyone but monopolistic tech giants.”

  • January 30, 2019

    Gillian Flynn

    Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn is working on a streaming series for Amazon, Vulture reports. An adaptation of a British series, Utopia tells the story of a group of people who “end up in the crosshairs of an ominous deep-state organization,” Vulture’s Jordan Crucchiola explains. “As you might expect, it will be up to them to save the world.”

    Bart van Es’s The Cut Out Girl has won the 2018 Costa book of the year award.  

    Dani Shapiro talks to The Millions about journalism, writing through trauma, and her new book, Inheritance.

    At The Baffler, Becca Rothfeld reflects on Henry James, Elizabeth Harwick, and “the aesthetic sins of manipulative men.”

    At the Paris Review, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses everything “from the bureaucratic inanities of air travel to the ravages of global capitalism” with a fictional customer service representative from Delta. “We need alternatives to this bullying corporate capitalism that sells you something and also uses you,” she writes at one point. “It’s all about profit, profit, profit and cut jobs, cut jobs, cut jobs. So they can save two hundred dollars even after having made ten thousand dollars. They need to hire human beings! And I don’t mean human beings trained to be robots, like you.”

    New York magazine’s Intelligencer talks to Rachel McMahon, a nineteen-year-old from Michigan whose quizzes drive substantial traffic to BuzzFeed, who is now being blamed by social media users for layoffs at the company, including the director of quizzes. McMahon began making quizzes for the site in high school and until now had never realized that it was the type of work that she could be paid for. “I saw a tweet earlier saying they hoped the college student who caused people to get laid off gets ‘depression and stuff.’ That’s not the nicest thing to read,” she said. “I just hope now that my name is out there I can find a job. Maybe not at BuzzFeed, but still a job.”

  • January 29, 2019

    The Guardian talks to The Hate U Give author Angie Thomas about diversity in YA literature, rejection, and her new book, On the Come Up. “Rejection is always hard . . . but what helped me was the community of unpublished authors out there on the internet, so you can connect and you can weep and mourn together. And I always had to remind myself that it only takes one yes to change everything,” she said. “I know writers who had 500 rejections, and more than that – but you just have to keep going and hope that you do get that one yes.”

    Kiese Laymon

    The winners of the 2019 Carnegie Medals have been announced. Kiese Laymon’s Heavy: An American Memoir has won the medal for nonfiction, and Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers has won for fiction.

    For the New York Times “Like a Boss” series, poet laureate Tracy K. Smith details her weekly work diary.

    After BuzzFeed announced plans to layoff 15 percent of its staff—including BuzzFeed News’s entire national news desk, the majority of its national security team, and the director of quizzes—the company is defending its decision to not pay out accrued paid time off to departing employees (except in California, where the payout is required by law). “This is very common and we looked at the total severance consideration and it was fair,” CEO Jonah Peretti explained in a tweet. “I can’t really have this discussion in public . . . but I look forward to being very open-minded and transparent with the staff council in our upcoming meeting.”

    “Amid mass layoffs that have affected the media landscape at large, LGBT media finds itself in a state of flux,” writes Trish Bendix on the future of LGBT-focused publications. “At this point, do we really need to keep prostrating ourselves — proving that LGBT stories are not only valuable, but “safe” — to straight and cis-led corporations and advertisers who want to appear inclusive but not too inclusive? Do we want to be another business’s cool new vanity project until they get tired of us and pull the plug? And perhaps most importantly, are we getting too far away from the reason LGBT media was created in the first place?”

  • January 28, 2019

    In an essay that reflects on the recent rediscovery and celebration of works by Lucia Berlin, Kathleen Collins, and Eve Babitz, Parul Sehgal writes about the critic’s responsibility when writing about works of literature by women that have been lost. “It’s not enough to give thanks that these writers have been restored to us; we need to ask why they vanished in the first place.”

    Penguin Random House is shutting down its imprint Spiegel & Grau. The news has come as a surprise to many in the industry, in part because Spiegel & Grau has published a number of groundbreaking books since it started as an imprint of Doubleday in 2005. A small selection of titles it has published: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz’s Beastie Boys Book, Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, Jay-Z’s DECODED, and Piper Kerman’s Orange Is the New Black. The news of the closure follows recent efforts to reorganize the various imprints of PRH, including changes in management at Crown in December.

    Ron Howard is adapting J.D. Vance’s best-selling book Hillbilly Elegy.

    Stephen Elliott is seeking to subpoena Google for the names of people who named and wrote about him on the “Shitty Men in Media” list. Last year, Elliott filed a lawsuit against the list’s creator, the writer Moira Donegan, as well as 30 “Jane Does” who commented on the list.

    The Man Booker Prize may need to change its name, now that one of its sponsors is withdrawing its support. Last July, the novelist Sebastian Faulks, who had been long-listed for the prize, said that hedge funds were “the enemy.” Now, the Man Group, a hedge fund which contributes 1.6 million pounds to the prize each year, has announced that it is cutting ties with the prize.