• February 13, 2018

    Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo speculates on which of Time Inc’s titles will be sold by Meredith Corporation first. Most observers agree that Sports Illustrated is most likely to be sold quickly as “it is undoubtedly the sorest thumb in a stable that serves a predominantly female audience—the Better Homes and GardensReal SimpleRachael Ray Every Day demographic,” writes Pompeo.

    Lucinda Williams. Photo: Dina Regine

    Lucinda Williams is working on a memoir that covers “her childhood in the South to how she became a late bloomer success in the music industry.” The untitled book will be published by Henry Holt in 2020.

    The Trump administration is attempting to eliminate funding for the National Endowment of the Arts again.

    Eric Thurm reflects on the unexpected media criticism found in HBO’s High Maintenance.

    Ben Brantley visits the Morgan Library & Museum’s “Tennessee Williams: No Refuge but Writing,” an exhibition of the playwright’s manuscripts, paintings, and other personal items.

    Wired looks at the turmoil inside Facebook over the last two years, starting with the destruction of the website’s Trending Topics team, through the 2016 election, and the company’s attempts to fix the mess they created.

    Peter Thiel will not be participating in a previously-scheduled SXSW panel. Thiel was supposed to talk with author Ryan Holiday about orchestrating “a nearly decade long conspiracy that culminated in the bankruptcy and closure of Gawker” and what the site’s shutdown means for “privacy . . . culture [and] the future of the free press.”

  • February 12, 2018

    Jeanine Pirro

    Jeanine Pirro

    Jeanine Pirro, the Fox News mainstay and friend of Donald Trump, has reportedly been considering the possibility of writing a book that rebukes Michael Wolff’s bestselling White House expose/takedown Fire and Fury. Sources say that Pirro has discussed the book with Trump, whom she has visited frequently at the White House. The president has agreed to be interviewed by Pirro. It is currently unclear if Pirro’s forthcoming book, Liars, Leakers, and Liberals, which is due out in June, will serve as the foundation for this Trump-boosting tome, or if Pirro will be starting a new book entirely.

    As part of its “How I’m Making It” series, Fasionista interviews author Choire Sicha about his rise from “amateur blogger” to editor of the New York Times Style section. He’s optimistic about the future of journalism and publishing: “I think we’re actually right now on the cusp of something exciting, which is about membership, subscription, people paying their own way for media they want to support. I think we’re sort of seeing some of the great dalliances with Facebook and platform publishing coming a little bit to a close. I think that people are saying, ‘We actually have to stand on our own two feet and defend ourselves,’ and people want to pay for exciting, important journalism that changes the world or that entertains and amuses. They have shown they are willing to do that and we don’t need to depend on giant platform companies always intervening.”

    The National Book Foundation has announced the lineup for 2018’s “Eat, Drink, and Be Literary” series, which will start on March 13 with Hari Kunzru, and will continue through the spring with events featuring Valeria Luiselli (The Story of My Teeth), Kevin Young (Bunk), and Lorrie Moore (Birds of America). Tickets are on sale here.

    Michel Foucault’s unfinished book, Confessions of the Flesh, has been published by Gallimard in France. The book, which he was working on before his death in 1980, is the fourth volume in his “History of Sexuality” project, and considers thoughts about sexuality in early Christianity.

    The Washington Post has launched what it calls the “most comprehensive Bestselling Books list.” It is the first to “add subscription eBook data from Amazon to its Bestselling Books lists, offering readers the most comprehensive look at what books people are buying each week.”

  • February 9, 2018

    The New York Times’s books desk has hired Rumaan Alam as a special projects editor. Alam is a regular contributor to many sections of the paper, and his writing has been published by the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.

    The Los Angeles Times is discontinuing its book blog, Jacket Copy. When Jacket Copy was created ten years ago, writes Carolyn Kellogg, “Blogs were a thing then . . . a way to get news and commentary onto the internet quickly.” But now, as the newspaper has adapted to the digital age, separating print and web content has become unnecessary.

    Daniel Raeburn. Photo: Andrew Corrigan-Halpern

    Vessels author Daniel Raeburn reflects on the paradoxes of writing a memoir. “You’re walking a tricky balance beam. . . . You have to be confident in your telling of what happened, but not too confident about what it means,” he said. A good rule of thumb comes from Kafka, who said, ‘In the struggle between you and the world, you must side with the world.’”

    “In a nation full of political hobbyists, championing dystopian art has become a go-to for those who want to take a political stand without actually doing anything,” writes Brady Gerber at Literary Hub.

    At Politico, former Newsweek writer Matthew Cooper details his experience at the magazine, which recently removed several top editors and is being investigated for fraud.

    Pod Save America, the podcast created by former Obama White House staffers, will work with HBO to broadcast several TV specials from the 2018 midterms campaign trail. “The 2018 midterms are the most important elections of our lifetime, and the energy and excitement on the campaign trail is infectious,” podcast hosts Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor said in a statement. “We are so grateful that HBO is taking a chance on us, even though these live shows will have so few dragons and sex robots.”

  • February 8, 2018

    Jesmyn Ward

    Jesmyn Ward has signed a two book deal at Simon & Schuster. The first book is a still-untitled novel that “centers on an enslaved woman sent south from the Carolinas to New Orleans, site of the country’s largest slave market,” which will be published by Scribner. Ward will also write a young adult novel about “a black Southern female protagonist who possesses special powers,” which will be published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. Publication dates for the titles have not been announced.

    Edna O’Brien has won the PEN/Nabokov lifetime achievement award. The prize will be given to O’Brien at a ceremony later this month.

    At the New York Times, assistant managing editor Monica Drake discusses her twenty years at the paper, her new role, and how it feels to be the first black woman on the paper’s print masthead.

    The Light We Lost author Jill Santopolo is adapting her debut novel for film. The project will be produced by Southpaw Entertainment.

    Is “writing what you know” the best strategy? Literary Hub looks to thirty-one writers for the answer.

    As publishers give up on Facebook’s Instant Articles, the feature is being put to use by fake news sites to add legitimacy to their articles and allow them to load faster, BuzzFeed News reports.

    Former editors of DNAinfo Chicago are starting a local news website, Block Club Chicago. The site is expected to go live in April, and will rely on reader subscriptions.  Former DNAinfo deputy editor and social media director Jen Sabella, now director of strategy for Block Club Chicago, explained why, despite the notion that local news is dead, the site will be successful. “People want it, and we proved that with DNAinfo. What we didn’t do was give readers a chance to support us,” she said. “I’m so excited to try this again, and maybe I’m totally bonkers, but I think if you listen to your audience and provide reliable news that is relevant to their lives (and that you can’t find 1,000 other places), people will support it.”

    Tonight at McNally Jackson, Lisa Halliday discusses her new novel, Asymmetry.

  • February 7, 2018

    Megan Greenwell

    Megan Greenwell has been hired as the editor in chief of Deadspin, Gizmodo Media Group’s sports website. Greenwell, the first woman to take on the role, is replacing Tim Marchman, who now leads the company’s Special Projects desk.  

    Tyra Banks and her mother Carolyn London are writing a book together that will “get raw, real and cray-in-a-good-way.” Perfect is Boring will be published in April.

    International Business Times senior writer David Sirota has resigned from the company after the firing of top IBT and Newsweek staff.

    Tronc is likely selling the Los Angeles Times.  

    Tavis McGinn talks to The Verge about the six months he spent monitoring Mark Zuckerberg’s approval rating.

    At the Paris Review, Marissa Grunes reflects on Primitive Technology, “a Walden for the YouTube age.” The online series follows John Plant, an Australian man “who builds huts, weapons, and tools using only naturally occurring materials” and “wears only navy blue shorts, rarely looks at the camera, and never speaks.”

    An American Marriage author Tayari Jones tells the New York Times’s “By the Book” column about her ideal mystery book. “I like my dead body in Chapter 1, and then spending the rest of the novel figuring it out,” she said. “Motives should be love, money or revenge. Spare me the sick stuff.”

    Tonight, Wesley Morris and Zadie Smith discuss her new essay collection, Feel Free, at St. Ann’s church in Brooklyn.

  • February 6, 2018

    Newsweek editor in chief Bob Roe, executive editor Ken Li, reporters Celeste Katz and Josh Saul, and International Business Times editor Josh O’Keefe were all fired yesterday, the Daily Beast reports. Anonymous employees noted that four of the fired staff had recently written about the company’s legal troubles. In response, Newsweek senior writer Matthew Cooper has resigned. “This coup d’grace comes at the end of a string of scandals and missteps during your tenure,” Cooper wrote in a letter addressed to CEO Dev Pragad. “Leaving aside the police raid and harassment scandal—a dependent clause I never thought I would write—it’s the installation of editors, not Li and Roe, who recklessly sought clicks at the expense of accuracy, retweets over fairness, that leaves me most despondent not only for Newsweek but for other publications that don’t heed the lessons of this publication’s fall.”

    Emily Chang

    The Atlantic is removing the comments section from their website. Starting this Friday, thoughts from readers will be collected and published in the Letters section.

    The National Magazine Award is discontinuing its Magazine of the Year and Multimedia awards.

    Rachel Kushner talks to the New Yorker about prison, crime, and her upcoming book, The Mars Room.

    Emily Chang tells TechCrunch that the impetus for her new book Brotopia came from an interview with venture capitalist Mike Moritz, who told her that his firm wouldn’t “lower our standards” by bringing on a female partner. “For the next few months, everyone wanted to talk with me about what he’d said,” she remembered. “There were these visceral debates about why women are so underrepresented in tech — with some saying it’s pop culture, or a pipeline problem, or that women don’t want these jobs. And the more people I talked with, the more I realized that there were a lot of false myths that have combined with economic and cultural forces to bring us to this point.”

  • February 5, 2018

    Margaret Atwood

    Margaret Atwood

    Margaret Atwood explains why, even as Hulu plans a second season of A Handmaid’s Tale, she’s not making money off of the rights to her 1985 novel.

    “I think if you’re trying to figure out how to weave together 250 people’s different memories, and arrange them, there’s no better model than Errol Morris’s filmography.” Isaac Butler and Dan Kois discuss influences they looked to while writing The World Only Spins Forward, their new book about the history of Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America.

    In her new controversial Harper’s article, Katie Roiphe, the author of In Praise of Messy Lives and other books, takes on the Shitty Men in Media list and Lorin Stein’s resignation from the Paris Review amid allegations of sexual misconduct. According to Roiphe, responses to the essay remind her of the “thought police” in George Orwell’s 1984. On CBS Sunday Morning, Roiphe noted: “Before the magazine article had even been published, thousands of people took to Twitter, furious at me for rumors about what might be in the piece. Total strangers called me ‘a garbage person,’ ‘a ghoul,’ ‘human scum.’”

    Citing “unforeseen circumstances,” Rose McGowan has canceled the remainder of her book tour for her new memoir, Brave.

    Thirty publishers have signed a letter requesting that the organizers of the Man Booker Prize reverse a 2014 decision which opened the award up to American authors. Since the rule change, two American authors have won the prize: Paul Beatty and George Saunders. According to the letter: “The rule change, which presumably had the intention of making the prize more global, has in fact made it less so, by allowing the dominance of Anglo-American writers at the expense of others; and risks turning the prize, which was once a brilliant mechanism for bringing the world’s English-language writers to the attention of the world’s biggest English-language market, into one that is no longer serving the readers in that market. . . . [It] will therefore be increasingly ignored.”

    Conventional essays “feel inauthentic because they want control,” White Girls author Hilton Als says in a profile in the Guardian. “I think you have to let the mess come in.”

  • February 2, 2018

    The Freedom of the Press Foundation has partnered with Archive-It to collect the work of Gawker and LA Weekly, as well as other news outlets and websites that may be threatened by purchase “by a hostile party.”

    Former Time executive editor Siobhan O’Connor is joining Medium as the company’s vice president of editorial. At the Columbia Journalism Review, Howard R. Gold looks at the history of the magazine and explains how it became “a victim of its own prosperity, which fostered a culture that discouraged risk-taking and punished failure.”

    Joseph Cassara. Photo: Amanda Kallis

    The Millions talks to Joseph Cassara about 1980s New York, the erasure of queer history, and his new book, The House of Impossible Beauties. “I always feel sad when I realize how much of queer history is lost because it hasn’t been documented properly. Or it’s been purposefully erased,” he said. “My modus operandi when writing is to try and resurrect queer stories and turn them into narratives that people can experience in a linear fashion.”

    Amy Chua tells the New York Times’s “By the Book” section that if her daughters don’t write her biography, she’d choose Elif Batuman. “She’s the daughter of Turkish immigrants—and studied violin at the Manhattan School of Music—so I think she’d relate,” she said. “Also, she seems like a generous spirit, and I could definitely use that!”

    At the Los Angeles Times, Agatha French goes to Mystic Journey Bookstore to ask one of the store’s twenty psychics about the future of the book industry. French was specifically interested in “what types of books, if any, people would seek out in the future.” The psychic telepathically called upon an unnamed writer for his opinion. “Respect for the spoken word is getting lost,” he said. “This level of knowledge, books and communication in the way that we’ve known it will only have value to a certain group of people.”

  • February 1, 2018

    The National Book Awards is adding a new prize for translated books. Beginning this year, the new category “will honor a work of fiction or nonfiction that has been translated into English and published in the U.S.” National Book Foundation director Lisa Lucas talked to the New York Times about the decision. “This is an opportunity for us to influence how visible books in translation are,” she explained. “The less we know about the rest of the world, the worse off we are.”

    Barbara Kingsolver. Photo: Annie Griffiths

    Barbara Kingsolver is working on a new novel. Taking place in both 2016 and 1871, Unsheltered “explores the foundations we build, crossing time and place to give us all a little more hope in those around us, and a little more faith in ourselves.” The book will be published next October by Faber in the UK and Harper in the US.

    Simon & Schuster imprint Gallery Books is publishing a memoir by Catherine Oxenberg about “losing her daughter” to the Nxivm leadership organization. Captive: A Mother’s Crusade to Save Her Daughter From a Terrifying Cult will be published next fall.

    BuzzFeed has announced the 2018 class of Emerging Writer Fellows.

    Television rights for Gabe Hudson’s Gork, the Teenage Dragon have been bought by the Gotham Group.

    On The Awl’s last day, founder Alex Balk offers a list of story ideas that never made it on the site. “Subway Astrology” was set to offer “personal and professional” guidance based on readers’ most-used subway stations, while “The Nihilist Advice Corner” would have answered each letter “with the same wisdom: ‘It doesn’t matter. We’re all going to die anyway. Nothing you do will make a difference in the long run.’”

  • January 31, 2018

    Willie Nelson is being inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. Nelson is the first songwriter to be honored by the group, and joins screenwriter Richard Linklater, novelist Bret Anthony Johnston, and playwright Kirk Lynn among others to be inducted this year. “He’s Willie,” the institute explained in a statement. “Do we need to say anything else?”

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Late author Helen Dunmore has won the Costa prize for her final book, Inside the Wave.

    Atria publisher and president Judith Curr is leaving the company after nineteen years. Curr founded Atria books and later took over the expanded Atria Publishing Group.

    Kwame Alexander is starting his own imprint. Versify will be part of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, with its first titles to be published in spring 2019.

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a Facebook post in reaction to an interview question from a French journalist, who asked if there were book stores in Nigeria. “Bookshops are in decline all over the world. And that is worth discussing and mourning and hopefully changing. But the question, ‘Are there bookshops in Nigeria?’ was not about that,” she wrote. “It was about giving legitimacy to a deliberate, entitled, tiresome, sweeping, base ignorance about Africa. And I do not have the patience for that.”

    Vanity Fair reports that Mike Cernovich, “the right-wing lifestyle guru and self-proclaimed journalist,” has bid $500,000 on Gawker.com. Maya Kosoff and Tina Nguyen write that although the offer may represent Cernovich’s desire “to navigate away from the fringes of the Internet . . . in a bid for more mainstream respectability,” his motivation to buy Gawker is more likely related to his “historic feud with the site, which dates back to at least 2014, when he challenged then-Gawker writer Sam Biddle to a boxing match over his coverage of Gamergate.”