Roald Dahl

Electric Literature excerpts part of The Devil’s Treasure, Mary Gaitskill’s novel-in-progress about a little girl wandering through hell.

What are a few ways to land a multi-million-dollar (or even a million-dollar) book deal? You can write a debut novel starring a teenage female protagonist, or try self-publishing your books first. If that doesn’t work, you might want to serialize your novels—per Mark Danielewski—or write a celebrity memoir... Moby Lives considers what we can learn from the six-figure book deals of 2012.

From a Craig Brown's book One on One, an account of how Kingsley Amis advised Roald Dahl on his decision to start writing children’s books: "But if you do decide to have a crack, let me give you one warning. Unless you put everything you've got into it, unless you write it from the heart, the kids'll have no use for it. They'll see you're having them on. And just let me tell you from experience that there's nothing kids hate more than that. They won't give you a second chance either."

A new issue of N1BR, n+1’s book review, is out. Not all of it is available online yet, but excellent essays by Alice Gregory and Benjamin Kunkel are.

At the New York Review of Books blog, Tim Parks wonders: "Does money make us write better?"

To spare passengers the embarrassment of reading it in public, Virgin Atlantic Airways is offering fliers a discreet way to enjoy E.L. James’ erotic novel Fifty Shades of Gray—as a nineteen-hour audiobook.

Left-wing journalist and CounterPunch editor Alexander Cockburn died in Germany this weekend at the age of 71, fellow CounterPunch editor Jeffrey St. Clair announced on Saturday. The cause of death was cancer. Over the course of his career, Cockburn, who was born in Scotland, covered topics spanning the war in Iraq to U.S. policy in Israel for publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the Nation. The author of numerous books, Cockburn was remembered in a New York Times obituary as being an outspoken writer known for “condemning what he saw as the outrages of the right but also castigating the American liberal establishment when he thought it was being timid.”