Xiaoda Xiao

Bookforum and London Review of Books contributor Alex Abramovich edited the Very Short List back when it was owned by InterActiveCorp (and did an excellent job), but was let go when Barry Diller sold the site to the New York Observer in June 2009. Now, more than a year later, it seems that the VSL just can't quit Abramovich: the NYO has just hired the writer to edit the website once again.

The rumors that Stieg "Dragon Tatoo" Larsson wrote a fourth novel are apparently true. His family has "confirmed the existence of another manuscript."

The National Book Award finalists have been announced, and the most interesting aspect of the list is what it doesn't include (if you need a hint, we're referring to an author whose initials are J.F.). There are, as always, some good choices, including Nicole Krauss's Great House and Patti Smith's Just Kids. The selection that we're most excited about is Monica Youn's Ignatz, a poetry collection that considers passion through the lens of the classic comic strip Krazy Kat.

Bret Easton Ellis—the man who celebrated J.D. Salinger's death and called Infinite Jest unreadable—feels so "trapped" on his Imperial Bedrooms tour that he envies the rescued Chilean miners.

Making a plot cohere, researching ant colonies, finding time for family and friends, paying the bills—being a novelist is hard work. The Awl inaugurates Publishing School, its promising new column about writing, with four testimonials from novelists-in-progress.

The independent press Two Dollar Radio is about to start giving away two chapters of Xiaoda Xiao’s memoir-in-stories, The Visiting Suit: Stories from My Prison Life, in Chinese. "By making Xiao’s work downloadable for free in Chinese, his tale will be made available to members of the population still affected by the extreme policies and daily hardships that Xiao describes who are only receiving and exposed to heavily censored news and stories." For those who don't speak Chinese, the book will be available in English later this month.