• August 9, 2018

    ProPublica is expanding its Local Reporting Network to include investigative reporting on government and politics at the state level. The grant will cover the salary and benefits for reporters at seven news outlets.

    Kate Lewis is replacing Joanna Coles as Hearst’s chief content officer.

    Crystal Hana Kim

    At Hazlitt, Nicole Chung talks to Crystal Hana Kim about inherited trauma, storytelling, and Korean identity in her new book, If You Leave Me. Kim said she was surprised by some of her early readers’ perceptions of life during the Korean War. “Once I workshopped a chapter . . . one of the comments was: ‘I don’t know that a woman of this time would have these sexual desires,’” she remembered. “And I just remember thinking, ‘What?’ I wanted people to understand that women in these circumstances would have the same desires, the same wants, maybe some of the same ambivalence about becoming a mother that many women today experience.”

    At The Atlantic, Todd S. Purdum writes about the dangers of performative journalism. Discussing Jim Acosta’s combative relationship with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Purdum writes: “Whenever a reporter who has not been kidnapped by terrorists, shot by an assailant, or won a big prize becomes an actor in her own story, she has lost the fight. Or in this case, reinforced the corrosive, cynical, and deeply dangerous feedback loop that has convinced Trump’s most fervent supporters that his relentless brief against the press has merit.”

    This weekend, Metrograph cinema will be hosting a film book fair. Vendors will be selling film-related memorabilia, magazines, scripts, ephemera, monographs, and more. The theater will also host screenings all weekend, including a showing of Reds presented by critic Darryl Pinckney, two Roald Dahl movies (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and You Only Live Twice, a James Bond movie for which Dahl wrote the screenplay), and Sunset Boulevard.  

  • August 8, 2018

    The Guardian has tallied the votes for its Not the Booker shortlist. Nominees include Rebecca Ley’s Sweet Fruit, Sour Land, Naomi Booth’s Sealed, Ariel Kahn’s Raising Sparks, Will Dean’s Dark Pines, and Dervla McTiernan’s The Ruin. A sixth nominee will be announced next week.

    Apple has bought the series rights to Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko. Soo Hugh has signed on to write and produce the adaptation.

    Catherine Lacey. Photo: Willy Somma

    Catherine Lacey talks to Hazlitt about Lydia Davis, turning real people into characters, and her new short story collection Certain American States. “There’s this interaction between any writer’s life and what they’re writing about. In the past, I’ve felt extremely nervous about what this or that person thinks of this or that character, if something shows up in my fiction that looks a lot like my life or that person,” Lacey said. “I’ve been worried about hurting someone’s feelings—or, in writing a story, sometimes I realize that I don’t care anymore.”

    At Folio, Cable Neuhaus reflects on Radhika Jones’s Vanity Fair, which has adopted a more modest and subdued style.

    Tonight at Books are Magic, Laura Van Den Berg presents her new book, The Third Hotel.

  • August 7, 2018

    Joanna Coles

    Hearst Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles is leaving the company. “Have you any idea of the miles I have walked on this treadmill desk through the peaks and the valleys of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and as Hearst’s first chief content officer?” the former Cosmopolitan editor said in a goodbye video on Twitter. “But my route is being recalculated. It’s time for a new adventure.”

    BuzzFeed News looks into the right-wing conspiracy theorists of QAnon and speculates that the idea may have been created as a leftist prank based on the Italian novel Q.

    The Washington Post is publishing a book on “Russian interference in the 2016 election and the subsequent political, legal and diplomatic fallout.” Published in October by Custom House, The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and The Subversion of American Democracy will incorporate the work of several of the paper’s reporters, including national security correspondent Greg Miller.

    At the New York Times, Grace Shulman criticises The Nation’s recent apology for publishing Anders Carlson-Wee’s poem, “How To.” Shulman, who worked as the magazine’s poetry editor from 1971 to 2006, accuses the current poetry editors, Stephanie Burt and Carmen Giménez Smith, of “abandoning [the] storied tradition” of presenting challenging and provoking work and defending “writers’ right to be wrong.” As an example, Shulman offers a late-’80s Gore Vidal column that “some people deemed anti-Semitic,” which the then editor-in-chief, Victor Navasky, defended at the risk of losing the magazine’s participation in a poetry contest at the 92nd Street Y. Shulman observes, “How far we have come from those idealistic, courageous days.”

    At Litery Hub, Daniel Crown writes about Victor Klemperer, the scholar and Nazi-era diarist. Crown argues that Klemperer’s memoirs, which cover the years 1933–45 and were first translated into English in the 1990s, are becoming newly relevant as a first-hand look at how a democracy can break down.

    Tonight at Books are Magic, R. O. Kwon discusses her new novel, The Incendiaries.

  • 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.