• March 23, 2018

    The Atlantic has hired four new columnists for its soon to be launched ideas, opinions, and commentary section. In this new feature of the website, Ibram X. Kendi, Kevin D. Williamson, Annie Lowrey, and Alex Wagner “will help readers understand the key issues of the day, introduce novel evidence and reporting to the debate, and shape the public conversation.”

    Carmen Maria Machado. Photo: Tom Storm

    New York magazine has bought Splitsider, the Awl Network’s comedy website. The site’s archives will stay online and its URL will now redirect to Vulture.

    Tracy K. Smith will continue in her role as poet laureate for the next year.

    Caity Weaver is joining the New York Times’s Styles section. Weaver, who was most recently a writer at GQ, will also be a writer-at-large for the Times’s magazine.

    In her acceptance speech for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, Carmen Maria Machado reflected on the continuing relevance of her short story collection. “I know that Her Body and Other Parties is terrifyingly real right now. I wish it wasn’t. I would give this book up in one second if I thought I could make it less relevant, if I could undo my own need to have written it,” she said. “But the fact is, it’s always been this real. The fact is, stories exist whether or not we decide to commit them to the page. I consider myself lucky to have coaxed a few of them out of the ether, if only to say: me, too.”

  • March 22, 2018

    Esmé Weijun Wang. Photo: Kristin Cofer

    The 2018 Whiting Award winners have been announced. Tommy Pico, Weike Wang, Anne Boyer, Brontez Purnell, Patty Yumi Cottrell, Esmé Weijun Wang, Rickey Laurentiis, Nathan Alan Davis, Hansol Jung, and Antoinette Nwandu will all receive $50,000.

    Penguin has acquired a memoir by late style photographer Bill Cunningham. The manuscript was found by Cunningham’s family after his death in 2016. Fashion Climbing details Cunningham’s childhood in Boston and his life in New York. The book will be published in September and includes a preface by New Yorker writer Hilton Als.

    New York Magazine has hired Gabriel Debenedetti as a national correspondent. Debenedetti was most recently a national political reporter at Politico.

    Recode’s Peter Kafka explains why recent efforts by Google and Facebook to help publishers and improve online journalism won’t be enough.

    Axios reports on Meredith Corp.’s plans for their newly-acquired magazines that don’t fit into their lifestyle brand, like Fortune and Sports Illustrated. The “basic message” from a staff meeting with CEO Tom Harty was: “We’re trying to sell you, but won’t shut you down if we fail.” Axios also notes that the company plans to lay off over 1,200 people over the next ten months.

     

  • March 21, 2018

    The shortlist for the Wellcome book prize has been announced. Nominees include Ayòbámi Adébáyò’s Stay with Me, Kathryn Mannix’s With the End in Mind, and Sigrid Rausing’s Mayhem. The winner will be revealed next month.

    Les Payne, former Newsday editor and founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists, has died.

    Tracy K. Smith. Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

    Google is launching a campaign to “support the media industry by fighting misinformation and bolstering journalism.” Over three years, the Google News Initiative will invest $300 million into supporting news organizations, creating new tools for journalists, and promoting accurate reporting during breaking news events.

    Bring Out the Dog author Will Mackin talks to George Saunders about why he channeled his experience in Iraq and Afghanistan into fiction. “Initially, I wrote nonfiction about the wars because I thought that others did the real work and who was I to take liberties,” he explained. “It wasn’t until ‘getting it right’ proved impossible that I started tweaking the details.”

    US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith tells the New York Times’s “Behind the Book” that her interest in poetry started in childhood. “I felt from an early age that poetry was something mysterious, something playful and lilting,” she said of her early days reading Poe and Shakespeare. “As I got older, poems began to offer me new and life-changing ways of looking at the familiar world.”

    Lenny Letter is partnering with Glamour to create an “interactive fiction” series, which will be written by a group of female writers. Each of the seven chapters in Daughter, First, which follows the daughter of a Massachusetts governor, will be influenced by readers’ responses to prompts on social media. “We have seen the popularity of podcasts using serial storytelling, and so we just thought that newsletters . . . could be used in the same way, to draw readers in and create suspense and just tell a really good story,” said Lenny Letter editor in chief Jessica Grose, who will also be one of the writers on the project. “And I’d been noticing that the national conversation is very highly dominated by politics. I thought, ‘What a better time to do a novel —a totally fictional portrayal — about a political family?’”

  • March 20, 2018

    Leslie Jamison

    At the Paris Review, Chris Kraus and Leslie Jamison discuss recovery, addiction narratives, and Jamison’s latest book, The Recovering. “So much of the book is a fight against exceptionalism,” Jamison said. “The idea that a story has to be ‘exceptional’ in order to be worth telling is curious to me. What if we looked at every single person’s story as a site of possibly infinite meaning? What if we came to believe that there isn’t hubris or narcissism in thinking your story might be worth sharing, only a sense of curiosity and offering?”

    Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen will be adapted into a young adult novel by The Reminders author Val Emmich. Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel will be published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in October.

    The Phnom Penh Post may be forced to shut down after receiving a $3.9 million tax bill. The newspaper is currently Cambodia’s only independent news source after the Cambodia Daily closed last fall after being hit with its own bill for $6 million in taxes.

    After Tronc chairman Michael Ferro resigned from the company’s board on Monday, Fortune reports that two women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct.

    BuzzFeed News reports on the ways that trolls and hackers take over Facebook groups in order to spread fake news and misinformation.

    The New York Times wonders whether James Comey’s upcoming book will be the next Fire and Fury. Although A Higher Loyalty was Amazon’s top-selling book on Sunday, it was pushed to number two yesterday by John Oliver’s A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a parody of Mike Pence’s children’s book about his family’s rabbit.

  • March 19, 2018

    The board of the Paris Review is considering eight candidates, all of them women, to become editor of the literary journal. Boris Kachka reports on the hiring process. “Board members tapped the candidates one by one, like pledges to an exclusive club. They were asked to submit memos and then summoned for 45-minute sessions in the riverside townhouse. The search committee, which includes novelists Mona Simpson and Jeffrey Eugenides, presented fairly conventional questions (e.g., which Review story they liked best, and why)—without revealing what they’re actually looking for.”

    Guyanese author Wilson Harris—whose innovative novels considered colonialism and Caribbean culture—has died.

    Samantha Hunt

    The finalists for the second annual Simpson Family Literary Prize have been announced: Ben Fountain, Samantha Hunt, Karan Mahajan, Anthony Marra, and Martin Pousson. The $50,000 prize, which originated at University of California at Berkeley, was created to help fiction writers “in the middle of a burgeoning career.”

    Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead is now five years old. Worldwide, 4.2 million copies of the book have been purchased. The New York Times looks at the book’s legacy, talking to Sandberg’s fans—and also a few of her detractors.

    “When you get older, it’s harder to be a bastard,” says Trainspotter author Irvine Welsh.

  • March 16, 2018

    The National Book Foundation has announced the judges for the 2018 National Book Awards. The longlist for the prize will be revealed in September.

    Michael Caine is writing a new memoir. Blowing the Bloody Doors Off—And Other Lessons in Life will be published by Hachette books and does not yet have a publication date.

    Sloane Crosley

    The Guardian reflects on the end of British music magazine NME, which published its last print copy this month.

    Axios reports that Meredith Corp. is selling several titles that it recently acquired in its purchase of Time Inc, including Time, Fortune, Money, and Sports Illustrated.

    Sloane Crosley tells the New York Times’s By the Book column that she is not drawn to writing that is based on the author’s own personal drama. “Never once have I thought, ‘I could really go for some personal essays right now,’” she said. “Somewhere, in a cold dark room, my publisher is shrieking, reading that sentence.”

    Politico details the lengths that publisher Flatiron has gone to in order to keep James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty from leaking before its publication in April. Access to drafts of the book are password-protected, and “the project is stored under a code name so that staffers who are not involved in the project wouldn’t know where to find it if they tried.” Comey has also announced his book tour schedule, with stops in ten cities, including New York and Washington, DC.

    Short-lived White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has signed a book deal with Hachette Nashville. Rather than a White House tell-all, Scaramucci’s The Blue Collar President: How Trump is Reinventing the Aspirational Working Class will be an examination of the president’s management style and entrepreneurial attitude. “I have seen him up close and personal and I know he has very good intentions,” Scaramucci told the New York Post. “Being an entrepreneur, I am actually very comfortable with his operating style—despite the fact that I’m a casualty of it.”

  • March 15, 2018

    Harper Lee’s estate has filed a lawsuit against Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, the New York Times reports. Although the contracts for the play were signed in 2015 before Lee’s death the following year, her estate’s lawyer filed the challenge after reading a draft of the script last fall. According to the Times, “a chief dispute in the complaint is the assertion that Mr. Sorkin’s portrayal of the much beloved Atticus Finch, the crusading lawyer who represents a black man unjustly accused of rape, presents him as a man who begins the drama as a naïve apologist for the racial status quo, a depiction at odds with his purely heroic image in the novel.”

    Kristen Roupenian. Photo: Elisa Roupenian Toha

    Hotel Rwanda director Terry George has bought the screen rights to Deborah Campbell’s A Disappearance in Damascus.

    At The Guardian, Chris Power looks into the myth of the “short story renaissance,” an event that seems to occur almost annually. From the New York Times to the Daily Telegraph, Power cites examples of the yearly heralding of the short story form. “All these restorations took place after ‘decades of neglect,’ he notes. “But how can the short story ever have time to wither, given the frequency of its rebirth?”

    Literary Hub has a new book-based advice column. In “Dear Book Therapist,” novelist and social worker Rosalie Knecht recommends Lynda Barry’s One! Hundred! Demons! to a reader trying to turn off “the inner voice that tells a creative person that they’re an idiot and their work is trash,” and counsels a wannabe-writer too afraid to publish their work to read Tom Hiney’s biography of Raymond Chandler, “which is a valuable lesson on the fact that success does not make happiness, although it can take the edge of misery.”

    Elon Musk offers more information about his rumored media venture. In two tweets, Musk divulged that the name of his “new intergalactic media empire” will be “Thud!” (“exclamation point optional”).

  • March 14, 2018

    Alan Hollinghurst. Photo: Larry D. Moore

    The New York Times talks to Alan Hollinghurst about Englishness, chronicling gay history through fiction, and why he prefers to write about the past rather than the modern era. “Contemporary life doesn’t suggest stories to me in quite the same way as the past,” he explained. “Contemporary life doesn’t have the things I find most interesting. . . . Secrecy, concealment, danger.”

    St. Martin’s Press has bought the rights to Pope Francis’s book. A Future of Faith: The Path of Change in Politics and Society will be published in August.

    Richard Flanagan’s Man Booker–winning novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North is being adapted for television.

    The Times suggests a few books for outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to read now that he “has some free time,” including Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices and George P. Schulz’s Turmoil and Triumph.

    Shakespeare and Company will open two stores in New York this year, one in Greenwich Village and another on the Upper West Side.

    Gizmodo looks at Project Veritas’s ongoing exposé of the tech world’s perceived liberal bias and examines the many ways in which they exploited the “ecosystem of connection and trust to wage its year-long investigation, turning the tools that Silicon Valley created against it.”

    Elon Musk is funding a new comedy venture staffed with former employees of The Onion, the Daily Beast reports. Former editors Cole Bolton and Ben Berkley did not offer details, but confirmed that they “have learned nothing from prevailing trends in media and are launching a brand-new comedy project.”

  • March 13, 2018

    The longlist for the Man Booker International prize has been announced. The list includes two former winners of the award: Han Kang, who won in 2016, is nominated this year for The White Book; and László Krasznahorkai, who won in 2015, is being considered again for The World Goes On. The longlist also includes Jenny Erpenbeck, Antonio Muñoz Molina, and Virginie Despentes among the thirteen nominees. The short list will be released on April 12, with the winner to be announced on May 22.    

    Apple has purchased Texture, a digital magazine subscription service. At the SXSW conference, Apple executive Eddy Cue talked about the acquisition and Apple’s plans for future media ventures.

    Nancy Dubuc

    A&E Networks executive Nancy Dubuc is in talks to take over as Vice Media’s CEO, replacing Vice co-founder Shane Smith.  

    The paperback release of Sherman Alexie’s memoir You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is being delayed indefinitely by its publisher, Hachette, in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against the author. Hachette said the postponement was made at the request of the author and released a statement: “We were surprised and troubled to hear the allegations that have recently emerged, and are concerned about the distress this situation has caused so many. . . . We’re encouraged that Sherman Alexie has apologized to those he has hurt and has dedicated himself, as he’s said, to becoming ‘a healthier man who makes healthier decisions.”  

    Tonight, Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn is hosting a reading and panel discussion for Go Home: New Voices on the Asian Diaspora, which is being published today by the Feminist Press in collaboration with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. At tonight’s event, Chaya Babu, Gaiutra Bahadur, Kimiko Hahn, Alice Sola Kim, and Jason Koo will read and discuss their work with the anthology’s editor Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.

  • March 12, 2018

    Junot Diaz Islandborn

    Junot Diaz

    Junot Diaz says he wrote his new illustrated children’s book, Islandborn, for his goddaughters, who were, like the charcters in the book, born in the Dominican Republic and now live in the Bronx. “If kids of color can read about white characters in children’s books all day, the only thing preventing the reverse is a malign set of racial policies,” Diaz tells the Washington Post. “The white default is, in some ways, the cornerstone of white supremacy. It’s not some innocent issue.”

    At The Paris Review, poet and critic Stephanie Burt writes a letter to the future readers of Lucie Brock-Broido (Stay, Illusion), who died last week. “Just to read the poetry is to see—in its hypermetric lines, its cliff-face line breaks, its ‘gathering / Of foxes oddly standing still in the milk broth of oblivion’—how there was more to her and more in the poetry, more to consider (before reflecting) beautiful, and more to gather into the self for reflection than most poets, and most poetry, have in store.”

    Murmrr—the Brooklyn reading series that has brought us events featuring Dana Spiotta, George Saunders, Sheila Heti, and Chris Kraus—is selling tickets for its upcoming event with musician and author Nick Cave, who will engage in a discussion with the audience.

    According to Publishers Weekly, feminist bookstores are thriving in the Trump presidency.

    Ex-Navy Seal Will Mackin talks about his debut story collection, Bring Out the Dog. “The idea for this particular book came out of the sensory details of the wars. When I was deploying with a SEAL team in Iraq and Afghanistan, our mission was night raids, and we wore night vision. There was a disconnect between the actual image and the image I was seeing in the goggles, and in some of the transmission—I could hear the guy next to me speaking on the radio, and a few seconds later I’d hear his voice in my head on delay. The voice would sound different but all the words were the same.”

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