paper trail

Jun 12, 2013 @ 3:17:00 pm

Lou Li, founder of Qidian

“The rich kids have better gas masks”; “pepper spray is good for your skin”: as protesters camp out in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, novelist Elif Shafak heads to Gezi Park to read the revolutionary writing on the walls.

“We are entering a new golden age of magazine publishing,” trumpets the summer issue of Port Magazine, though to judge that issue by its cover, very little seems new about either the magazine or our current age of publishing. Of the six editors featured, none are women, and there are only two female contributors in the entire magazine.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic adds to its growing list of ridiculous gender trend stories with a piece on how successful female writers have managed to balance their personal and professional lives by only having one child. “It was only when I was working on a book investigating what it means to have, and to be, an only child that I realized how many of the writers I revere had only children themselves,” writes Lauren Sandler. “Alongside Sontag: Joan Didion, Mary McCarthy, Elizabeth Hardwick, Margaret Atwood, Ellen Willis, and more.” More interesting than the article itself is the comments section, which has already attracted responses from Kate Bollick, Jane Smiley, and Zadie Smith, who argues that “the idea that motherhood is inherently somehow a threat to creativity is just absurd. What IS a threat to all women's freedoms is the issue of time, which is the same problem whether you are a writer, factory worker, or nurse.”

Lou Li, the founder of China’s largest literary website, has been arrested. The site, Qidian, works by allowing writers to post their stories, and to sell them if they become popular enough. It’s still unclear why Lou was arrested, but some sources have said that he was illegally selling copyrighted materal, while others suggested that he was illegally accepting bribes.

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Review of Books, here's an interview with New York Review of Books founder Robert Silvers.

Scarlett Johansson has filed suit against a French author for publishing a book featuring a Scarlett Johansson-like character. The Independent reports that “the book in question, The First Thing We Look At... concerns a mysterious woman who looks just like Ms Johansson, who asks for help at the house of a car mechanic in a village in the Somme, in northern France.” The author, Grégoire Delacourt, told the French paper Le Figaro that he is “stupefied” by the suit, and that he’s disappointed about the way things turned out: “I was hoping that she might send me flowers because this book is, in a way, a declaration of love.”