• September 7, 2018

    Politico reports that the Times op-ed by an anonymous Trump administration official has “raised a host of ethical and journalistic questions many have never considered before, including whether Times news reporters—who work independent of the editorial department, which published the op-ed—should now set about determining the identity of an anonymous Times opinion writer.”

    Newtown: An American Tragedy author Matthew Lysiak is working on a book about Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge. The book will be published by Benbella Books next year.

    Jonathan Lethem

    Jonathan Lethem talks to Vulture about the 2016 election, writing as a coping mechanism, and his new book, The Feral Detective. “In a funny way, I had a better 2017 than a lot of people,” Lethem said of the process of writing his book, which takes place during Trump’s inauguration. “It kept me relatively chipper during the brutal year, because I was pretending it was only happening to Phoebe and not to me. Then, on the day I finished the book, I remember I turned the news back on and realized: Now I have to do this without the armor of the book. Oh, fuck.

    At the New York Times, Joyce Maynard reflects on the reception of her memoir about her relationship with J.D. Salinger, At Home in the World, and its connection to the #MeToo movement. “Though I believe that if the book I wrote 20 years ago were published today it would be received differently, it does not appear that enlightenment concerning the abuses of men in power extends retroactively to women who chose to speak long ago, and were shamed and humiliated for doing so. As recently as last fall — on the occasion of my having published a memoir about the death of my second husband, a book in which Salinger never appears — I was referred to as ‘the queen of oversharing,’” she recalls. “What does it say about us that a woman who speaks the truth of her experience should be dismissed for telling more than the world feels comfortable hearing?”

    “The death of The Voice isn’t just about the end of a newspaper,” writes former columnist Tricia Romano. “ To some of us at least, it’s about the end of New York as a cultural and political center, as the place that the world turned to for art, for music, for leadership in new and uncomfortable ideas, often perceived by the mainstream to be dangerous or weird.”

    The Guardian takes a look at the archives of the Man Booker prize, which have been put online in honor of its fiftieth anniversary. Highlights include 1969 and 1970 judge Rebecca West’s disdain for, among others, Kingsley Amis (“curiously disappointing”) and John le Carré (for writing “according to formula”), as well as details of the coin toss that awarded the 1976 prize to David Storey for Saville.

  • September 6, 2018

    New York Times op-ed editor James Dao talks to CNN about his decision to publish an essay by an anonymous Trump administration official. “We felt it was a very strong piece written by someone who had something important to say and who’s speaking from a place of their own sense of personal ethics and conscience,” he said. “That was our main focus.” Axios has collected responses to the essay from Trump’s supporters and detractors. “What the author has just done is throw the government of the United States into even more dangerous turmoil,” David Frum writes at The Atlantic. “He or she has enflamed the paranoia of the president and empowered the president’s willfulness.”

    Lisa Halliday. Photo: Vittore Buzzi

    The Center for Fiction has released the shortlist for this year’s First Novel Prize. Nominees include Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry, Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater, and Tommy Orange’s There There. The winner will be announced later this year.

    Rolling Stone’s Ilana Kaplan profiles Cherry author Nico Walker, who is currently serving an eleven-year sentence in federal prison for bank robbery.

    In response to recent layoffs at The Outline, members of the Study Hall collective have written an open letter stating that they will not write for the website. Journalists and writers who belong to the group say that although they’ve written for the publication before and appreciate its unique voice, they “cannot allow Josh Topolsky and his investors to rely on our loyalty to The Outline’s vision when they choose to devalue writers’ work and treat our ability to survive as externalities.”

    “In a fight for survival, the average mainstream magazine is undergoing an identity crisis,” writes The Ringer’s Alyssa Bereznak on Vogue, Beyoncé, and the changing purpose of magazine covers, which “now function as advertisements for something far beyond a single magazine issue: merchandise, collector’s items, spinoff publications, books, recommended products, behind-the-scenes YouTube videos, television shows, and in-person events or conferences.”

    “If I was alive I would arrange to have them killed and if I were dead I would come back and haunt them,” says Transcription author Kate Atkinson of the prospect of someone writing her life story. “I can’t think of anything more horrible.”

    Tonight at Greenlight Books in Brooklyn, Catherine Lacey talks to Alexander Chee about her new story collection, Certain American States.

  • September 5, 2018

    The Outline has laid off six employees, including the site’s two staff writers, Fast Company reports. “This news is not fun. It sucks to cut good people,” editor Joshua Topolsky told the Wall Street Journal’s Ben Mullin. “But it is incredibly important to build something sustainable.”  

    Walter Mosley. Photo: David Shankbone

    “American democracy requires a functioning press that informs voters and creates a shared set of facts,” argues Chuck Todd in The Atlantic’s Ideas section, which officially launched yesterday. “If journalists are going to defend the integrity of their work, and the role it plays in sustaining democracy, we’re going to need to start fighting back.”

    At Lithub, Walter Mosley reflects on history, power, and his new novel, John Woman. “When you can eliminate or paralyze identity, make your enemies’ cultures either nonexistent or criminal then you’ve done one better than genocide,” he writes, “you’ve made it so that not only is your enemy gone, she never even existed.”

    If you want to know what happens to a country that has opened itself entirely to Facebook, look to the Philippines,” writes BuzzFeed News’s Davey Alba.  “What happened there — what continues to happen there — is both an origin story for the weaponization of social media and a peek at its dystopian future.”

    Despite the recent backlash against the New Yorker’s decision to invite Steve Bannon to speak at its festival, The Economist has defended its choice to host a similar conversation at its own Open Future Festival. At the New York Times, Bret Stephens claims that Bannon’s disinvitation means that David Remnick “is no longer the editor of The New Yorker. Twitter is.” At the Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan writes that interviewing people like Bannon is of little use to society. “Challenging the likes of Bannon . . . only makes these figures into folk heroes, bravely telling their would-be truths to a corrupt media elite,” she explains. “It would be better to stop obsessively looking back at how Trump came to be, turning 2016 this way and that like some dark prism.”

  • September 4, 2018

    David Remnick will no longer be interviewing Steve Bannon as part of the New Yorker Festival next month after the invitation drew intense pushback, including the loss of several participants. “There is a better way to do this,” Remnick said in a statement. “If the opportunity presents itself I’ll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage.”

    Astra Taylor

    “When you don’t have equal rights, it gives you a different perspective,” says What Is Democracy? director Astra Taylor on how growing up as a permanent resident in the US has informed her work. “Of course, this is speaking as a Canadian who’s about as privileged a permanent resident as you can be, but I still couldn’t vote in elections. I can pay taxes but not vote. This informed my perspective; we can’t limit democracy to a citizen.”

    Watch the first trailer for HBO’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend at Vulture.

    Former NPR executive editor Madhulika Sikka is joining the Washington Post to work on the paper’s daily podcast.

    Former Village Voice writers reflect on the paper’s closing. Susan Brownmiller says the Voice taught her how to write. At the New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl remembers his years there as “the most fun I’ve ever had as a critic.” “I could consult with a canny photographer . . . to double the thrust, or the irony, of each column. I could take for granted a hip audience that required a minimum of exposition, and was game for jumping into the deep end of the subject at hand,” he writes. “I never worked at the office, but I recall a thrill nearly every time I entered it.”

  • August 31, 2018

    After a run of over sixty years, the Village Voice will cease publication. Owner Peter Barbey, who purchased the Voice three years ago in an attempt to save it, is laying off half its remaining staff and is retaining the rest to “wind things down.” According to The Gothamist, Barbey broke the news by telling his employees on a conference call: “Today is kind of a sucky day. Due to, basically, business realities, we’re going to stop publishing Village Voice new material.”

  • At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Andrea Long Chu weighs in on the Avital Ronell Title IX case at NYU. Chu, who worked as Ronell’s teaching assistant last year, writes that it is an open secret at NYU that Ronell is abusive. Chu also takes note of the protective arguments offered by some of Ronell’s peers, who view the sexual-harassment case as an opportunity to think about larger structural issues: “When scholars defend Avital—or ‘complicate the narrative,’ as we like to say—in part this is because we cannot stand believing what most people believe. The need to feel smarter is deep. . . . We would be intellectually humiliated to learn that the truth was plain: that Avital quite simply sexually harassed her student, just as described. Sometimes analysis is simply denial with more words.”

    Mitchell S. Jackson. Photo: John Ricard.

    The VQR talks with Mitchell S. Jackson, author of the forthcoming book, Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family.  

    The Brooklyn Book Festival has announced the schedule for this year’s events. Bookforum’s panel, “Backlash: The Legacy of 1968,” will take place on September 10th at 7pm at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn.

    At the New Republic, Alex Shepard reports on the spate of problems at Barnes & Noble. On Tuesday, former CEO Demos Parneros filed a lawsuit against the bookseller, alleging that it enabled rumors that he was fired because of sexual harassment allegations. The company quickly responded, telling the New York Times that Parneros was indeed let go because of “sexual harassment, bullying behavior and other violations of company policies.” Shepard writes that aside from the drama around Parneros’s termination, the lawsuit is notable because it portrays a company in crisis, one that “is struggling in every conceivable aspect of its business, which means that finding a new CEO—let alone a buyer capable of turning the company around—will be exceedingly difficult.” 

  • August 30, 2018

    Charlene A. Carruthers

    Charlene A. Carruthers

    Slate is collaborating with ProPublica to analyze how political ads are targeting Facebook users.

    Charlene A. Carruthers talks about her hopes for her book Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist mandate for Radical Movements, which was published on Tuesday by Beacon Press: “My greatest hope is that black women and girls love this book, and appreciate this book,” she tells The GlowUp. “Because if black women and girls like it and love it, then everybody else will … if we’re into it, and we take it up, then that means we’re fighting for everybody, because that’s what we do. Even if we’re not perfect and we don’t get it right all the time, I’ve seen us be more receptive to change than any other group of people.”

    The finalists for the 2018 New Academy Prize (which the Literary Saloon calls the “Knockoff Nobel Prize”) have been announced.

    n+1’s latest issue, titled “Bad Faith,” has landed.

    Jessica Hopper, author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, has written an interesting companion piece to her review of Joe Hagan’s biography of Jann Wenner, Sticky Fingers. At Vanity Fair, Hopper has compiled an oral history from interviews with the women editors who transformed Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s.

    A documentary about Kitchen Confidential author and TV personality Anthony Bourdain is is scheduled for release in 2019.


  • August 29, 2018

    Lauren Groff

    Lauren Groff

    In May, Fates and Furies author Lauren Groff was interviewed for the New York Times’s “By the Book” column, in which she recommended only books by women. On Saturday, in response to a “By the Book” featuring George Pelecanos, who recommended only books by men, Groff Tweeted: “This one goes out to all the men who contacted me to say that my interview (in these these same pages) was bitterly unfair because I said out that men don’t read women: Here you go, sweet gents.” Little Fires Everywhere author Celeste Ng replied to Groff: “”Has anyone done a count of By The Book and how many of the men cite NO women at all? Anecdotally I think the count would be really high.” They quickly got an answer. UC Berkeley professor David Bamman’s has now analyzed the 100 most recent “By the Book” columns, and found that the male authors featured have recommended books by men four times more often than they have recommended books by women.

    The Academy of American Poets has announced the recipients of its 2018 American Poets Prizes: Sonia Sanchez, Martín Espada, Craig Morgan Teicher, Geffrey Davis, Raquel Salas Rivera, David Larsen, Anthony Molino, and John Bosworth. The winners of the Rona Jaffe Awards have also been announced: Chelsea Bieker, Lisa Chen, Lydia Conklin, Gabriela Garcia, Karen Outen, and Alison C. Rollins.

    Barnes and Noble fired its CEO Demos Parneros last month under mysterious circumstances. But now Parneros and the company are in dispute about his dismissal. Parneros is suing for defamation of character and breach of contract. Barnes and Noble has responded that the CEO was let go in part due to accusations of sexual harassment. Parneros’s suit features more revelations about the Barnes and Noble’s hard times, including the claim that the company was almost sold to an unnamed “book retailer” in June.

    Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies and the forthcoming Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, has a new article at The Cut about Matt Lauer and Louis CK. “Not many of these guys are such unique talents that we cannot live without them; we will not be bereft and aimless without their entertainments and leadership. (And whatever the hell people think they need Matt Lauer for, I truly have no clue.) I can’t help but think that a guy who really wanted to change and regain the public’s trust might do it by reentering public life via another avenue: helping other people, or educating other men about the errors he made or harm he did.”

  • August 28, 2018

    Sally Rooney

    Sally Rooney

    After John McCain’s death on Saturday, his latest book, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations, which was published by Simon and Schuster in May, climbed to Number 2 on bestseller lists. Meanwhile, other writers dug up their copies of “Up, Simba!,” David Foster Wallace’s masterful essay about going on the road with McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign: Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson says that Wallace knew the “real McCain”; Laura Miller looks to the essay to point out that Wallace’s complex attempts to distinguish between what was authentic and false about the Arizona candidate now seems “quaint.”

    The Guardian has posted a profile of Sally Rooney, the twenty-seven-year-old author of Conversations with Friends, and whose new novel, Normal People (out in the US in 2019), is on the Booker Prize longlist.

    The New Republic has posted three new poems as part of its “Migration Series”:
    /’mīgrent/” by Tiana Nobile, “ESL” by Aline Mello, and “(un)documents” by Jesus I. Valles.

    In her latest column for Literary Hub, Rebecca Solnit argues that we have only one option in the face of Trump’s presidency so far: impeach.

    Publishing Perspectives rounds up the “flood” of political books coming out in the months leading up to the midterm elections.

  • August 27, 2018

    Carlos Lozada

    Carlos Lozada

    Liying Lin, the director of the Beijing Book Fair, shares her outlook for publishing in China. “From our standpoint, we see no evidence of a slowdown—far from it,” she says. “We’re seeing real energy in the sector and a hunger for new formats, new ideas and new content.” Children’s books are big, and so are some works in translation: bestsellers include Steve Jobs, Niall Ferguson, Thomas Picketty’s Capital in the 21st Century, and Jane Eyre.

    Carlos Lozada, the book critic for the Washington Post, discusses the craft of reviewing.

    Author Noam Cohen ponders what Jeff Bezos, Mark Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates are reading this summer: included on the list are books such as Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, Moises Naim’s End of Power, and David Deutsch’s Beginning of Infinity. “There are barely any novels on these lists, no poetry, and no literary criticism,” Cohen notes. “Instead, there is science, social science, psychology, and economics.”

    Some Twitter posts have noted transphobia in Masha Gessen’s recently published New Yorker article about the Avital Ronell case at NYU.

    Sumita Chakraborty offers a sustained analysis of the work of poet laureate Tracy K. Smith.