• Elizabeth Hardwick
    October 22, 2021

    Joy Williams on Jim Harrison’s poetry; Zachary Fine considers “the prolonged season” of Elizabeth Hardwick

    For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Zachary Fine considers a forthcoming biography of Elizabeth Hardwick, her reputation as a stylist, and her popularity today. Cathy Curtis’s A Splendid Intelligence is one of a spate of books by or about Hardwick published in recent years; it seems, Fine writes, we are in “the prolonged season of Hardwick.” Fine also points out that some critics working today seem to write like her: “What better way to sneer at mass-market fiction and the flat Globish prose of ‘world literature,’ say, than to insist on writing like Hardwick: stunningly, unsaleably, and right

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  • Summer Brennan
    October 21, 2021

    More on the closure of “The Believer”; Summer Brennan goes deep on the viral Bad Art Friend story

    At Gawker, writer and former Believer intern Nicholas Russelll reflects on the magazine's nearly twenty-year history and questions the official narrative about why the publication is closing: “While the official record supplied by BMI and UNLV paints a picture of an unfortunate, but ultimately pragmatic decision to ‘focus on its core mission,’ the reality is less noble. Callous mismanagement and a lack of care overshadowed the good work being done at the magazine.” The closure comes a few months after Joshua Wolf Shenk, the editor in chief of The Believer, resigned after exposing himself during

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  • Henry Louis Gates Jr. Photo: Stephanie Berger
    October 20, 2021

    Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s plans for a book series on Black artists and thinkers; “The Believer” magazine loses funding

    The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has decided to cut its funding of The Believer magazine, which is operated through the college’s Black Mountain Institute. The bimonthly literary magazine was started in 2003 by Ed Park, Heidi Julavits, and Vendela Vida, and was published by McSweeney’s until 2014. The February/March 2022 issue will be the last published with the Black Mountain Institute. On Twitter, writers and readers are sharing some of their favorite pieces from the magazine’s archive: Dustin Illingworth recommends Christopher Beha on John Hawkes; Jane Hu

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  • Asali Solomon. Photo: Ron Nichols; Mural: David Shane.
    October 19, 2021

    Molly Young on Asali Solomon’s new novel; Brittany Luse on passing stories

    In the New York Times, Molly Young reviews Asali Solomon’s new novel, The Days of Afrekete. The book, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Toni Morrison’s Sula, and Audre Lorde's Zami, is coming out today. Young writes, “Solomon’s novel is a feat of engineering. It’s also a reverie, a riff on 'Mrs. Dalloway' and a love story.” To which we'd add: It’s also quite funny. Earlier this fall, Solomon told Porochista Khakpour in a Bookforum interview: “Humor is really important to me. And I think that in that sense, the greater the risk, the greater the reward.”

    For Vulture, Brittany Luse

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  • Joshua Clover
    October 18, 2021

    Duke University Press launches its “Singles” series; Solange’s new community library

    Duke University Press has started its new “Singles” series, in which authors devote an entire book to a single song. Duke UP elaborates: “Not just a lone track on an album, but a single: a song distributed to and heard by millions that creates a shared moment it is bound to outlive, revealing social fault lines in the process.” The first book in the series, by poet and critic Joshua Clover, is devoted to Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ 1972 song “Roadrunner.” The book not only offers a deeply felt homage to the song but also delivers an “account of something like history from 1972 to

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  • Kevin Young. Photo: Melanie Dunea
    October 15, 2021

    The T. S. Eliot Prize shortlist has been announced; Alex Sujong Laughlin on behind-the-scenes work in media

    For Study Hall, Alex Sujong Laughlin reflects on a decade of work as a ghostwriter, a social media manager, and a podcast producer. Working behind the scenes made her realize the myth of individual genius: “To recognize that a ghostwriter, or producer, or a professional of one of a dozen other careers that don’t get performed in the spotlight, has irreplaceable skill and experience would demean the singular and incomparable gift of the person at center stage.”

    Andrew Key considers The Distance Cure, Hannah Zeavin’s new book on teletherapy, for The Point. Against the assumption that therapy is

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  • Monica Huerta
    October 13, 2021

    Lauren Elkin on seriousness and levity; Monica Huerta’s conversation series asks what we want from personal writing

    The Appeal, a news site focused on criminal justice reform, is back and worker-led after being shut down this summer by management. They will publish their first special package of stories in November, and are asking for donations to support the relaunch.

    For the Paris Review, Claire-Louise Bennett corresponds with Lauren Elkin, whose most recent book, No. 91/92: Notes on a Parisian Commute, was composed during Elkin’s bus rides to and from work at a university. Elkin writes to Bennett about being “in thrall” to Susan Sontag during her twenties and thirties, and recognizing the “split” this

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  • Alexander Chee. Photo: M. Sharkey.
    October 12, 2021

    Abdulrazak Gurnah’s unexpected Nobel win; Alexander Chee honored with CLMP award

    For the New Republic, Alex Shephard writes about the longshot win of the Nobel Prize for Literature by Abdulrazak Gurnah. According to Shephard, Gurnah was not on anyone’s radar as a contender and betting sites did not have him down as an option, even at 100-1 odds. After newsy selections—Bob Dylan in 2016, Kazuo Ishiguro the following year—the 2021 award may represent a turn back to tradition, as Shepard observes, “the Nobel Prize in literature has settled back into what it has been for much of its history: an unpredictable prize that selects its often obscure laureates for reasons that aren’t

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  • Miriam Toews
    October 11, 2021

    Tonight: Miriam Toews discusses her new novel

    In Jacobin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar argues that Kyrie Irving, in his refusal to be vaccinated, shows an unacceptable “lack of regard” for Black lives and the welfare of the NBA. Irving, Abdul-Jabbar writes, “continues to reject the expertise of prominent immunologists without reason, contributing to vaccine hesitancy among people in the Black community, who are dying at twice the rate of white people.”

    Cold War historian Martin J. Sherwin, who won the Pulitzer for cowriting American Prometheus, the biography of Manhattan Project director J. Robert Oppenheimer, has died.

    Publishers Weekly has

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  • The punctuation marks of this Paper Trail post, repeated.
    October 08, 2021

    Emily Gould on Dodie Bellamy’s “The Letters of Mina Harker”; Clive Thompson’s tool for visualizing punctuation style

    The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center has launched a Black studies digital catalogue called the #SchomburgSyllabus. The catalogue is meant as a reference guide, and covers twenty-seven topics such as Health & Medical Racism, Monuments, Politicians & Elections, Black Feminism, and Writers & Literature.

    For the Paris Review, Emily Gould writes about Dodie Bellamy’s The Letters of Mina Harker, which blends Bellamy’s voice with the fictive Dodie’s and the character of Mina Harker. “The overall impression,” Gould writes, “is of a huge box of tangled jewelry dumped out onto the bed, some

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  • Abdulrazak Gurnah. Photo: Mark Pringle.
    October 07, 2021

    Abdulrazak Gurnah wins the Nobel Prize in Literature; the “Bad Art Friend” takes takeover

    Novelist and professor Abdulrazak Gurnah has won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Gurnah was born in Zanzibar and moved to the United Kingdom as a refugee when he was eighteen. He is the author of ten novels, including two that have been previously nominated for the Booker Prize. His latest book is Afterlives, published in 2020. Gurnah told Magill magazine in 2010: “I’m writing in one language, in English, and I’m bringing to it an imaginative landscape from another culture and another language and that produces, I think, a dynamic and rather interesting mix.”

    The Brooklyn Rail talks with Amauta

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  • Annie Ernaux. Photo: Seven Stories Press
    October 06, 2021

    Predictions for the Nobel Prize in Literature; the “Paris Review Podcast” will return this month

    The New Republic’s Alex Shephard offers his annual predictions for who will win the Nobel Prize in Literature (and who definitely will not). It’s no easy task, as the prize’s identity has, in recent years, “become unmoored amid oddball picks (Bob Dylan), conventional ones (Olga Tokarczuk), and the literary award equivalent of begging to get ratioed on Twitter (Peter Handke). With all the left turns and overcorrections, it’s not so obvious what the Nobel Prize in literature is celebrating.” Still, Annie Ernaux seems to be the favorite for this year’s award.

    Emily Stokes, editor of the Paris

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