• June 18, 2018

    Victor LaValle

    Victor LaValle

    Victor LaValle’s novel The Changeling is being adapted into a TV series that will air on FX.

    The legendary and inimitable Happy Ending reading series will return for one night: June 27 at Joe’s Pub. This installment is titled “Anxiety and Misdiagnosis,” and the lineup will include Amanda Stern (Happy Ending’s creator and longtime host, and the author of the new book Little Panic), Alexander Chee (The Queen of the Night and How to Write an Autobiographical Novel), and Leslie Jamison (The Empathy Exams and The Recovering). Musical guest TBA. Tickets are available here.

    Arundhati Roy answers questions from a number of fans—Lionel Shriver, Eve Ensler, Ali Smith, and a number of readers—discussing her favorite Beatle, political resistance, censorship in India, and why writers should be “unpopular.”

    Hanif Kureishi has offered a response to novelist Lionel Shriver, who last week ridiculed Penguin Random House for its efforts at diversity. “No one knows what a more democratic and inclusive culture would be like. It is fatuously omniscient to assume it would be worse than what we already have,” Kureishi writes. “The attempt of reactionaries to shut people down shows both fear and stupidity. But it’s too late: they will be hearing from us.

    The New York Times has published a series of photos from the biggest parties during Book Expo America.

    Pulbishers Weekly examines how Literary Hub has, since its launch in 2015, become “one of the premier literature-focused sites on the web.”

  • June 15, 2018

    Carmen Maria Machado. Photo: Tom Storm

    Editorial and administrative staff at the Washington Post have written an open letter to owner Jeff Bezos “asking for fairness for each and every employee who contributed to this company’s success.” The letter outlines concerns about a lack of raises, job security, and unfair demands on laid-off employees. “Please show the world that you not only can lead the way in creating wealth, but that you also know how to share it with the people who helped you create it,” they conclude.

    Houston Chronicle managing editor Vernon Loeb has been hired as The Atlantic’s new politics editor. Loeb has previously worked at the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Literary Hub hosts a discussion by Allie Rowbottom, Thea Lim, Aja Gabel, and Chelsea Hodson on the publication process for debut authors.

    Jackie Chan is working on a memoir. Never Grow Up will be published by Gallery Books in November.

    In the New York TImes’s “By the Book” column, Michael Ondaatje reminisces about teaching literature at Columbia University’s medical school. “They were wonderful students; in some ways, they read books more perceptively than the usual academic students,” he recalled. “As if a character flaw resided in a specific and therefore limited area, such as the liver. So the problem could be eventually overcome.”

    Her Body and Other Parties author Carmen Maria Machado talks to Vulture about her next book, her encounter with Junot Diaz, and what should happen to men after the #MeToo movement. “If all things were equal, if it was fair, men would get to experience what we get to experience. In terms of having their art utterly devalued at every turn. In terms of not being taken seriously,” she said. “Obviously . . . I don’t think that will happen.”

  • June 14, 2018

    Chelsea Hodson. Photo: Ryan Lowry

    At BOMB, Alex Zafiris talks to Chelsea Hodson about vulnerability, love, and resisting categorization in her new essay collection, Tonight I’m Someone Else. “I think there is a tendency now to label and categorize everything, which inherently reduces the experience to one thing or another, which isn’t true to how I experience the moments of my life,” Hodson said. “I’m interested in using writing as a tool to explore nuances that are only detectable to me months or years later. These people and these moments stay with me, whether I want them to or not, so there is a lawlessness that comes with excavating them, dusting them off, and holding them in a new way.”

    This American Life podcast S-Town is being turned into a movie. Spotlight director Tom McCarthy is in talks to direct and playwright Samuel Hunter could write the script.  

    Amy Rose Spiegel has been hired as a senior editor at Broadly. Spiegel was most recently editor in chief of Talkhouse Music and has worked at BuzzFeed and Rookie.

    For the Paris Review’s “Feminize Your Canon” series, Emma Garman recommends the work of British novelist Olivia Manning. Though she was a prolific writer, her books were not well known during her lifetime, unlike the work of her “archnemesis” Iris Murdoch. “Manning may have bristled at the notion that she was artistically ahead of her time; what use was that when she had bills to pay?” Garman writes. “But her spare, unsentimental, and sometimes highly original fiction, with its “unlikable” characters and documentarian’s realism, is more aligned with current tastes than Murdoch’s eccentric flights of fancy.”

    Tonight at McNally Jackson in New York, Dorthe Nors presents her newly-translated novel Mirror, Shoulder, Signal.

  • June 13, 2018

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has won the 2018 PEN Pinter Prize. “In this age of the privatised, marketised self, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the exception who defies the rule,” English PEN trustees chair Maureen Freely said of the author. “Sophisticated beyond measure in her understanding of gender, race, and global inequality, she guides us through the revolving doors of identity politics, liberating us all.” Adichie will receive the award in October, when she will also announce her choice for the 2018 International Writer of Courage.

    Amazon Studios has ordered a streaming series based on the New York Times’s Modern Love column. Written and directed by John Carney, the show “will explore love in its multitude of forms, including sexual, romantic, familial, platonic and self-love.”

    Julie Reynolds wonders why the Knight Foundation, a journalism organization that supports local news organizations, invested in Alden Global Capital’s Distressed Opportunities Fund, which was used to buy struggling newspapers and slash their budgets, from 2010 until 2014.

    After writing an article claiming that Penguin Random House UK’s plan to increase the diversity of its writers was “putting diversity ahead of literary excellence,” Lionel Shriver has been removed from the judging panel of Mslexia’s writing competition. In an open letter to Shriver, the inaugural cohort of the Penguin WriteNow program, which provides mentoring to writers from marginalized communities, detailed just how hard it is to be selected for such projects. Out of 2,000 applications each year, only twenty-three writers were selected. “In context: statistically you are much more likely to get into Oxford than onto a Penguin Random House mentoring scheme,” they explain. “Therefore it’s hardly the indiscriminate box-ticking process that Shriver so unimaginatively envisages.”

  • June 12, 2018

    Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has donated $20 million to the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, which will be renamed after him. “Sometimes rich people want to do fancy stuff in terms of endowments: Ivy League schools, the opera, the ballet,” Newmark said. “Me? I want to help out people who, much like me, really needed a hand. If you’re lucky enough to do well, then I feel the right thing is to give people a hand, and the best way for me to do that is to help out journalism.”

    Kamila Shamsie

    The Outline has laid off the editor and staff writer of its Power section. In a statement to Fast Company, editor in chief Joshua Topolsky claimed that he had “let go of two underperforming employees—the power section here is more than intact,” but later backtracked on his statement in a tweet.

    Home Fire author and Women’s Prize–winner Kamila Shamsie talks to The Guardian about immigration policy, living in London, and how it felt to have her book predict the future.

    A novelist can share a poet’s sensibility, precision, generosity, slant, view, broodiness, relationship with language, imagery, metaphor and the visual,” Caoilinn Hughes writes in her list of poets-turned-novelists at Granta. “But what about the novelists who are poets? Do their novels betray them as such?”

    New York magazine’s Reeves Wiedeman examines the history of VICE, and wonders if the company can make it through slow financial growth and allegations of widespread sexual misconduct. Though office culture has changed since the New York Times investigation, some staff loyalty still remains according to recently-hired senior vice-president Marsha Cooke. “In her first address to the staff,” Wiedeman reports, “Cooke said that she heard such pride in the organization that she half-expected the room to turn into a scene from Spartacus, with each of the company’s creatives standing up, one by one, shouting, ‘I am Vice!’”

    Tonight at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, Lauren Groff talks to Lisa Lucas about her new novel, Florida.

  • June 11, 2018

    Lara Prescott

    Lara Prescott

    Michael Wolff has reportedly signed a contract with Henry Holt to write a sequel to his bestselling portrait of the Trump Administration, Fire and Fury.

    Knopf has paid a reported $2 million for the North American rights to Lara Prescott’s debut novel, We Were Never Here. Prescott’s book is a fictional account of the making of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago, a novel that was banned and suppressed in the Soviet Union, and that might never have become known to the world had it not been successfully smuggled out of the country and translated by the CIA.

    David Hadju, author of the critical study Positively Fourth Street (in part about Bob Dylan), has sold his first graphic book to Columbia University Press. According to Hadju’s agent, Chris Calhoun, Hadju’s A Revolution in Three Acts is “a historical story of three ‘wildly transgressive’ stars of the Vaudeville stage: Bert Williams, the African-American minstrel performer; Eva Tanguay, the ‘I Don’t Care’ girl; and Julian Eltinge, a female impersonator.”

    Remembering Anthony Bourdain: Here is his list of “39 books to ‘unfuck yourself.’” Also, Dreaming the Beatles author Rob Sheffield pays tribute to the notoriously prickly celebrity chef: “He made it easy for the rest of us to live vicariously through his adventures, because he seemed to have a boundless appetite for life.”

    The novelist and cultural critic Marian Warner—a novelist and critic who won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Stranger Magic, her study of the Arabian Nights—recently warned against what she sees as a new tendency to reward authors for being “virtuous.” “Striving to be good is not the same as good writing,” she stated in her presidential address at the Royal Society of Literature. “Engaging in fictive truth-telling is not the same as winning gold stars for conduct.”

    Tonight in New York, Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay will discuss the new anthology Not that Bad: Dispatches from the Rape Culture, which she edited, with Aja Monet, author of My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter. Tomorrow, Gay will discuss the book with contributor Ally Sheedy.

  • June 8, 2018

    Anthony Bourdain—who became famous with his bestselling memoir Kitchen Confidential, and went on to become the host of the CNN show Parts Unknown—has died

    In a staff memo, Reuters editor in chief Steve Adler outlined the tactics that journalists should use when reporting on Trump, based on the rules used by foreign correspondents in countries where “the media is unwelcome and frequently under attack.” “Do’s” include not worrying about official access, which was “never all that valuable anyway,” while “Dont’s” reminds reporters to not “take too dark a view of the reporting environment,” since “it’s an opportunity for us to practice the skills we’ve learned in much tougher places around the world.”

    Mary Beard

    For their reporting on Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment settlements, Times journalists Emily Steel and Mike Schmidt have won the 2018 Livingston Award.

    At BOMB, Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple talk to Alia Malek about Arabic poetry, secularism, and the difficulties of writing and publishing a book about Syria for a Western audience.

    Novelist Lydia Millet tells the New York Times’s By the Book column that she would want Dept. of Speculation author Jenny Offill to write her life story. “She’s strictly a fiction writer, which is actually a selling point, and she has a way of spinning the everyday into subtle gold. She could take the tawdry parts and make them seem almost tasteful, or at least forgivable, using nothing but her magic wand of words,” she said. “Also, she actually knows the tawdry parts, and you cannot have a juicy biography without those.”

    Moira Donegan talks to Women & Power author Mary Beard about misogyny, past and present. Beard says that the current debate about misogyny and sexism, as well as the reaction to it from opponents, is similar to the debate in ancient times. “Like Perseus and Medusa: decapitating women, silencing women, cutting women’s tongues out. There are things that are so resonant with now,” she said. “If you look at what Twitter trolls tend to say when they want to target a woman, they go back to those tropes about cutting tongues out, cutting your head off and raping it. And I’m pretty certain that many of them have not read Ovid.”

  • June 7, 2018

    Editorial staff of the New Yorker have unionized with NewsGuild of New York. New York magazine’s Noreen Malone reports that the group includes copy editors, fact checkers, assistant editors, design staff, and web producers. Malone notes that staff writers are excluded, as they are hired as independent contractors and not staff, an ironic twist that “would not escape the red pen of the magazine’s fact department.” Assistant editor McKenna Stayner said that magazine can not only afford to recognize the union, but that it would be against their professed values not to. “We run labor pieces, and for many of our writers, their system of beliefs is for workers’ rights,” she said. “With the certain kind of tone of moral authority we have taken on, it would be confusing for both readers and employees for there to be a lot of aggressive pressure against unionizing from New Yorker management.”

    Kamila Shamsie

    Fast Company staff are unionizing with Writers Guild of America East.

    In a letter on their website, Boston Review editors Deborah Chasman and Joshua Cohen explain why they have decided to keep Junot Díaz on as the magazine’s fiction editor after numerous women came forward with stories of misconduct. The editors write that during Díaz’s fifteen years on staff, there have been no complaints about his conduct in the workplace, and that they don’t believe the reported incidents “have the kind of severity that animated the #MeToo movement.” In response, Review poetry editors Timothy Donnelly, BK Fischer, and Stefania Heim have decided to resign.

    The Women’s Prize for Fiction has been awarded to Kamila Shamsie for her novel, Home Fire.

    Playwright and performance artist Lars Jan is adapting Joan Didion’s “The White Album” for the stage. The essay will be read by Mia Barron while performers “stage a house party mirroring the social turmoil of the period.” The work will debut at BAM later this fall.

    Daniel Radcliffe will co-star in the Broadway adaptation of John D’Agata and Jim Fingal’s The Lifespan of a Fact. Radcliff will play the role of Fingal, the fact checker who worked with D’Agata on an essay for The Believer.

    Tonight at Murmrr in Brooklyn, Tao Lin talks with Hamilton Morris about his new book, Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation and Change.

  • June 6, 2018

    General H. R. McMaster is the latest former member of the Trump administration to start shopping a book. BuzzFeed News reports that the erstwhile national security adviser is working with ICM agent Amanda Urban on his proposal.

    Wall Street Journal executive editor Matt Murray is taking over for Gerard Baker as the paper’s editor in chief. Baker will stay on as editor at large, a role that includes writing a regular weekend column and hosting a “WSJ-branded news and interview show on Fox Business News.”

    Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

    The Lambda Literary Award winners were announced this week. Roxane Gay won the Trustee Award, while Edmund White received the Visionary Award. Other winners include Carmen Maria Machado, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Barbara Browning.

    Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reports that Fox News is not profiting from its pro-Trump shows. “The pro-Trump thing isn’t working,” one employee told Sherman. “We can’t monetize DACA and the wall and that right-wing shit.”

    Women’s Wear Daily reports that Interview magazine, which recently declared bankruptcy, may relaunch soon under the control of Kelly Brant, the magazine’s president, and Jason Nikic, who most recently served as Interview’s chief revenue officer. WWD notes that both Brant and Nikic “had a hand in not paying the many people who worked under them” before the bankruptcy, and by choosing to file under Chapter 7, they may be able to avoid paying back the millions that they owe. “But should Interview relaunch after essentially skipping out on fees to hundreds of players in the fashion and publishing industry, is it possible that it will have the same allure for prospective contributors?” WWD’s Kali Hays wonders. “Will anyone be willing to risk working for people who have shown at best an indifference to timely and full payment to their partners and employees? As Warhol himself said, ‘Art is what you can get away with.’”

  • June 5, 2018

    Porochista Khakpour

    Porochista Khakpour tells Tin House about writing her memoir, Sick. “I felt I had to be really careful not to make my book appear like it represents the experience of all chronically ill or disabled America,” she said. “In that sense I also felt if I paraded around Audre Lorde’s experience with cancer or even Amy Tan’s with Lyme, I would be creating a sort of wonky narrative dilemma: a sort of forced dependency, a connecting of dots, and for what? For whom? For metaphor? To justify my story?”

    Former New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani talks to Vanity Fair about why she decided to write The Death of Truth. “One reason I wrote this book is to call attention to those who in their own times found what Margaret Atwood has called the ‘danger flags,’” she said, “in this case the denunciation of ‘fake news’ and the citing of ‘alternative facts’ by Trump and his White House.”

    In the New York Times’s Reader Center, reporter Rukmini Callimachi and editor Michael Slackman answer questions about the 15,000 ISIS documents collected by Callimachi for her article, “The ISIS Files.”

    The Break author Marian Keyes has accused the judges of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize of sexism after noting that only three women have won the award in nearly two decades. “Power and money are lovely, and those who have it want to hold onto it. One way of keeping those who don’t have it from having it is to mock them and mock the things they love,” she said. “It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.”

    Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s publicity tour for The President Is Missing is off to a rocky start, according to Entertainment Weekly’s David Canfield. “With Patterson awkwardly by his side, Clinton was grilled, particularly, by NBC News on Today, about his affair with Monica Lewinsky while he was in office,” Canfield reports. Reviews of the book have also been less than glowing. The Guardian’s Steven Poole points out that the title “fake news” since “the president isn’t missing,” and warns that “readers hoping for spicy revelations about what really goes on in the White House are likely to feel short-changed by bromides such as, ‘Sooner or later, every president faces decisions in which the right choice is bad politics, at least in the short term’, or the revelation that there is a one-lane bowling alley in the White House basement.”