• August 6, 2018

    Jill Soloway Topple

    Jill Soloway

    Jill Soloway’s new, Amazon-backed imprint, Topple—which will publish books by women of color and writers who identify as gay, queer, bi, trans, and gender nonconforming—has acquired its first two books: LGBTQ advocate Precious Brady-Davis’s I Have Always Been Me and Lucille Scott’s An American Coven(ant). Brady-Davis’s memoir chronicles her “traumatic childhood of abandonment and neglect and her resilience as a biracial, Pentecostal, queer young person growing up in Omaha, Nebraska.” Scott’s book is, according to Amazon, a “queer-feminist pop history of how mystical traditions intersected with modern feminism in America.”

    In a new Publishers’ Weekly survey, one in five women who work in the publishing industry reported that they have been sexually harassed on the job.

    The Murmurr reading series has announced that Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts, will be the interviewer at the September 26 event featuring Karl Ove Knausgaard.

    Simon & Schuster editor Ira Silverberg says that Sam Lipsyte’s new novel, Hark, will be released in January.

    In the final week of July, the popularity of adult nonfiction titles helped result in a 2 percent increase in overall print sales.

    At the Paris Review, novelist and critic Lynne Tillman talks with artist Nell Painter about “truth with a capital T,” the “question of who determines value” in art, and coherence and ambiguity in fiction.

  • August 3, 2018

    Anna Wintour

    According to the New York Times, Conde Nast lost $120 million last year because of a sharp decline in print ad revenue. The company has tried to cut costs—including laying off eighty employees last year—but is still in the red. Conde Nast is said be selling the magazines Golf Digest, W, and Brides. The company’s chief executive, Robert A. Sauerberg Jr., is trying to quiet rumors that Vogue editor Anna Wintour wants to leave, saying Wintour “has agreed to work with me indefinitely in her role as editor in chief, Vogue, and artistic director of Condé Nast.”  

    A little-known Ernest Hemingway story, “A Room on the Garden Side,” is being published by The Strand this summer.   

    Sarah Jeong, the tech journalist who recently joined the New York Times editorial board, came under fire yesterday for some of her old tweets, which right-wing critics are calling “racist.” The Times released a statement in defense of Jeong, which also managed to chastise her: “Her journalism and the fact that she is a young Asian woman have made her a subject of frequent online harassment. . . . For a period of time she responded to that harassment by imitating the rhetoric of her harassers. . . . She understands that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable at The Times.” At the Verge, where Jeong has worked as a senior writer, the editorial team made a stronger defense of her, pointing out the dynamic at work: “Online trolls and harassers want us, the Times, and other newsrooms to waste our time by debating their malicious agenda. . . .  The strategy is to divide and conquer by forcing newsrooms to disavow their colleagues one at a time. This is not a good-faith conversation; it’s intimidation.”

    Yesterday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to disavow president Trump’s remarks that the press is “the enemy of the people,” a phrase with a loaded history. Meanwhile, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a former Trump administration staffer, claims in her new book that she has noticed an undeniable “mental decline” in her former boss.

    Is it any wonder that sales of books about anxiety are soaring?

  • August 2, 2018

    The 92nd Street Y has announced the lineup for its upcoming season of readings and talks. The schedule includes appearances by Gary Shteyngart, Jonathan Franzen, and Karl Ove Knausgaard, among others. Kate Atkinson will start the season on September 25 with a talk on her upcoming book, Transcription.

    Sarah Jeong. Photo: James Bareham

    Sarah Jeong is joining the New York Times as the editorial board’s lead technology writer. Currently a senior writer at The Verge, Jeong is also the author of The Internet of Garbage. “Sarah has guided readers through the digital world with verve and erudition, staying ahead of every turn on the vast beat that is the internet,” the Times said in a statement.

    According to leaked documents obtained by The Intercept, “Google is planning to launch censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest.”

    Amitava Kumar talks to Poets & Writers about underrated authors, desert island books, and the feeling of being published. “I have been writing and publishing for such a long time that it’s difficult to remember,” Kumar said of his first published work. “In terms of my career, to be honest, I felt I had really published when I got into the pages of Granta. Why? Because it had been a dream for so long.”

    The poetry editors of The Nation have apologized after publishing a poem by a white man “seemingly written in the voice of a homeless person begging for handouts” that was criticized online over its “attempt at black vernacular,” among other issues.

  • August 1, 2018

    Clifford J. Levy. Photo: James Hill

    The New York Times has chosen Clifford J. Levy as its next metro editor. Levy was most recently the paper’s deputy managing editor, and had been heavily involved in the Times’s digital expansion. “The position will take him off the print masthead, but it may offer a more positive long-term outcome,” Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo explains. “In fact, according to Times sources familiar with the process, the move was pitched to Levy as an important gesture, and one that would make him a stronger candidate for executive editor when the time comes.”

    The Washington Post profiles A.G. Sulzberger. The thirty-eight-year-old Times publisher, they write, “sits in direct contrast to the president of the United States: demure, private, vegetarian, self-effacing, and reliant on proving himself through hard work rather than trading on his famous surname.”

    Facebook has found another coordinated campaign to influence US politics ahead of the midterm elections, the New York Times reports. FiveThirtyEight has compiled an archive of three million tweets linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency.

    The Cut’s Anna Silman reflects on Stephen Colbert’s decision to speak out against Les Moonves on CBS. “For so long, women have faced devastating consequences — to their careers, to their personal safety — as a result of speaking out about abusive men,” she writes. “It’s encouraging to see men speaking out as well, especially those who have a little bit of their own skin in the game.”

    Ian Allen explores the disturbing world of white supremacist science fiction.

    Book cover designers Charlotte Strick and Claire Williams Martinez discuss their work on the covers for Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy.

    Vulture is working with cable channel TruTV to develop an unscripted weekly show to highlight pop culture events of the past week. “Two hosts will hand out awards to the people, places, and things everyone can’t stop talking about,” the website explained in a statement. “Each episode will include the show’s version of all the awards show traditions you know and love (or love to be annoyed by), be it a big opening number, speeches from the given academy’s president, or ‘In Memoriam’ packages.”

     

  • July 31, 2018

    Bob Woodward is writing a book about the Trump administration. Fear: Trump in the White House “reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside Donald Trump’s White House and how the president makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies.” The book will be published by Simon & Schuster in September.

    Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive excerpt from Kristen Roupenian’s upcoming collection, You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Stories. The short story collection will be published by Scout Press next January.

    R.O. Kwon. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti

    The Incendiaries author R.O. Kwon talks to Signature about cults, losing faith, and why she finds traditional plot structures “extremely unpleasant.” Kwon said she decided to start her novel at the story’s climax “so that the destruction” could be “out of the way.” “I’m so much less interested in what happened as in how and why,” she explained. “Even when I was watching, say, ‘Friday Night Lights,’ the plot would stress me out so much that I’d read ahead on Wikipedia to find out what’s going to happen to these poor kids!”

    At the Los Angeles Times, Melissa Chadburn and Carolyn Kellogg investigate the many identities of Anna March, a writer who has published at Salon and the Rumpus who used her contacts in the literary community to commit fraud.

    After New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger revealed his off-the-record meeting with Trump, Erik Wemple argues that although media organizations have historically participated in off-the-record meetings with past presidents, the press should not continue the pattern with Trump. “Granting his request for a meeting feeds his imperial ego, especially if you’re the publisher of the New York Times,” he writes. “It also does nothing else. Trump doesn’t listen; Trump doesn’t change; Trump doesn’t care.”

    Tonight at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, Ottessa Moshfegh presents her new book, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. A few blocks away at Greenlight Books, Amitava Kumar talks to Jennifer Egan about his new book, Immigrant Montana.

     

  • July 30, 2018

    Kevin Young Schomburg Malcolm X

    Kevin Young

    New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has purchased a number of never-before-published writings by Malcolm X. Among the writings are three chapters from The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which were cut from the book after his assassination in 1965 because they were considered too controversial. In 1992, a biographer was allowed to look at the chapters for fifteen minutes, but aside from this they have been kept from the public. The poet and critic Kevin Young, the Schomburg’s director, says: “The Autobiography is one of the most important books of the twentieth century. To have the version with Malcolm X’s corrections, and to be able to see his thoughts taking shape, is incredibly powerful.”

    Cathy Park Hong—the author of the poetry collection Dance Dance Revolution and the poetry editor at the New Republic—has announced that her collection of essays, Stand Up, will be published by One World/Random House in Spring 2020.

    For the first time, the entire fifteen-year archive of The Believer is free online.

    Judith Appelbaum—an editor at Publishers’ Weekly, a books columnist at the New York Times, and the author of the 1978 book How to Get Happily Published: A Complete and Candid Guide—has died. “It is largely within your power to determine whether a publisher will buy your work and whether the public will buy it once it’s released,” Appelbaum stated in the first chapter of her popular how-to guide for writers.

    The FSG website has reprinted a recent conversation between Hilton Als and Caryl Phillips, who discuss Phillips’s new novel A View of the Empire at Sunset, which is about Wide Saragosa Sea author Jean Rhys’s return, in 1936, to her native Dominica. As Als notes early in the talk: “This is a tremendous undertaking in this book to not only imagine and re-imagine a writer whose work you love and love, but to really imagine aspects of colonial history that are fading but never go away.”

    Amitava Kumar talks about what it was like to record the audio version of his new novel, Immigrant Montana.  

  • July 27, 2018

    Shirley Jackson

    Paramount Pictures is planning a feature film adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, with a screenplay by Jake Wade Wall. Producer Frank Marshall told Deadline: “I liked what Jake was doing in developing it and bringing up to the present day. It’s has a dystopian, Handmaid’s Tale feel about it, which makes it very timely. And, it has a great twist at the end.”

    Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer is on a book tour. It’s off to a rough start.

    The Overstory author Richard Powers talks to The Guardian about sci-fi, life-changing books, and the shame he feels for not having read The Grapes of Wrath. “I mean, really,” he said. “You call yourself an American novelist?”

    In an off-the-record meeting at New York magazine, Jonathan Chait said that part of him was glad that Trump won the election. He went on to describe a feeling of disassociation from Trump’s antics, and speculate that  “maybe that makes me a sociopath.” Chait comments quickly went on the record, as “half a dozen” staffers reported what he said to the Huffington Post. Chait wrote to HuffPo to clarify, saying his remarks “were intended for an audience which, I assume, was familiar with my work and the obvious seriousness with which I take politics in general and Trump in particular.”

    Tonight at Books are Magic in Brooklyn, Jeremiah Moss will discuss his book Vanishing New York.

     

  • July 26, 2018

    Kevin Jared Hosein

    Kevin Jared Hosein has won the Commonwealth Prize for his short story, “Passage,” which was written in Trinidadian English Creole. Although Hosein was concerned that readers might not understand the language, novelist and Commonwealth Prize jury chair Sarah Hall said that the story was a quick favorite. “It balances between formal language and demotic, ideas of civility and ferality, is tightly woven and suspenseful, beautifully and eerily atmospheric, and finally surprising,” she said.

    Daniel Kolitz attends the fifth annual David Foster Wallace Conference in Illinois, where organizers and attendees wonder how to “negotiate the fact that we have a brilliant author who did some despicable things.”

    Entertainment Weekly’s David Canfield looks at the summer books that have topped the New York Times bestseller list, which until recently was occupied almost entirely by political books.

    Troy Young has been named president of Hearst. Young will replace David Carey, who is retiring at the end of the year.

    Joanna Rothkopf has been hired as the deputy editor of Esquire.com. Rothkopf was most recently a senior editor at Jezebel.

    At Vulture, Christian Lorentzen reviews Nico Walker’s debut novel about war, addiction, and incarceration. “Cherry provides a meticulous narrative of opioid addiction, one of the most detailed account I’ve seen in American lit . . . since we became aware that the country was experiencing an epidemic. There’s less an arc or a downward spiral than a very gradual sinking.”

    Tonight at McNally Jackson Books in Manhattan, Emma Cline talks to Lexi Freiman about her new book Inappropriation.

  • July 25, 2018

    Laura van den Berg

    Laura van den Berg talks to the Paris Review about tourism, zombies, and her latest novel, The Third Hotel. Van den Berg says that she started writing the book while living in a possibly-haunted home at Bard College. “I had been bouncing around between various campuses for a few years and that winter I was on the road a lot because I had just put out my first book and my husband and I were spending too much time apart and my father was ill—life felt so transient, as if everything was moving too quickly for me to absorb anything,” she said. “So the book sprung from a tangle of chaotic feelings—plus an attic ceiling that would unfold itself in the middle of the night.”

    Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Killing Commendatore, has been banned in Hong Kong for obscenity.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda is working on a limited series for FX based on Sam Wasson’s biography of filmmaker Bob Fosse.

    At Book Marks, Amitava Kumar shares “his list of five books about finding love.”

    US Olympic Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad talks to the New York Times about death threats, competition, and her new memoir, Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream.

    In a memo written in March and obtained yesterday by BuzzFeed News, outgoing chief security officer Alex Stamos implored Facebook employees to prioritize user privacy and safety over profits. “We need to listen to people (including internally) when they tell us a feature is creepy or point out a negative impact we are having in the world,” Stamos wrote. “We need to be willing to pick sides when there are clear moral or humanitarian issues. And we need to be open, honest and transparent about our challenges and what we are doing to fix them.” Yesterday, Facebook decided that a livestreamed rant by Alex Jones of Infowars, in which he leveled unfounded accusations of pedophilia and threatened violence against Robert Mueller, was not in violation of the company’s policies.

  • July 24, 2018

    Rachel Kushner

    The longlist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize has been announced. Nominees include Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room, Richard Powers’s The Overstory, and Sally Rooney’s Normal People. The list also includes Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina, the first graphic novel to be longlisted for the prize.

    Susan Fowler Rigetti, the former Uber engineer whose Medium post about sexual harassment at the company led to the firing of its CEO, is joining the New York Times as a San Francisco–based technology opinion editor.

    Tronc is making severe staff cuts at the New York Daily News. The New York Times reports that 50 percent of the staff will be laid off, including editor in chief Jim Rich and managing editor Kristen Lee.

    Empire Falls author Richard Russo wonders how novelists can write about school shootings in an age where they have become commonplace—and politically divisive—events. “As a nation, we have not decided that our children are more important than our guns, and any new novel on the subject will have to address that tectonic shift,” he writes. “We’ve changed. Our nation has changed. A 2018 “Empire Falls” would have to be set in a tribal America that has stopped listening, that may have little interest in a novelist’s musings.”

    “A good rule of thumb in business, and in life generally, is that if you find yourself defending Holocaust deniers, you’ve probably taken a wrong turn somewhere,” writes the New Republic’s Alex Shephard on Mark Zuckerberg’s explanation of why Facebook allows conspiracy theories and fake news to remain on the site. “To win points with Republicans in Congress, Facebook is courting crazies. Furthermore, by embracing the very people who make its platform toxic, it is going to alienate mainstream users and invite regulatory scrutiny from Democrats, who want to know why Facebook isn’t doing more to kick out sites like InfoWars.”

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