paper trail

Annette Gordon-Reed revisits Saidiya Hartman’s archive experiments; American Booksellers Association launches “Boxed Out” campaign

Annette Gordon-Reed. Photo: Tony Rinaldo

The American Booksellers Association is launching its “Boxed Out” marketing campaign today, with fourteen independent bookstores across the country participating in the drive to divert Amazon revenue to indies amid the ongoing pandemic and through the holiday shopping season. The campaign features storefront installations designed to mimic the look of brown cardboard boxes, and are printed with such declarations as, “Amazon, please leave the dystopia to George Orwell.”

The Ford and Andrew W. Mellon foundations have named twenty creatives who will receive inaugural grants as part of their new fellowship, the Disability Futures initiative.

Historian and Pulitzer-winning author Annette Gordon-Reed revisits Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments for the New York Review of Books. The personal histories of many of Hartman’s subjects are unknown or subject to erasure and distortion in the archive; Gordon-Reed considers how the author “reimagines” their stories to create a “counter-narrative.” With the “lyrical prose of a novelist,” Hartman composes portraits of Black women who “are no longer criminals, bad mothers, or loose women. They are ‘sexual modernists, free lovers, radicals, and anarchists,’ the ‘ghetto girl[s]’ who were the real-life inspiration for white flappers.”

At the Granta podcast, In the Dream House author Carmen Maria Machado discusses “memory as architecture, formal experimentation, and making space for queer narrative” with Josie Mitchell. For more on Machado, read her story in Granta’s Winter 2020 issue, and Jo Livingstone’s Dream House review for Bookforum.

Bryan Washington’s forthcoming novel, Memorial, has been acquired for TV adaptation by A24, Deadline reports. In other news, the screenplay of BBC’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People will cross back to print, set to publish in the UK in November.

Tonight at 8 PM EST, Politics & Prose Bookstore will feature Rumaan Alam talking about his new, National Book Award–nominated novel, Leave the World Behind.