paper trail

Ayad Akhtar named next president of PEN America; Parul Sehgal reads The Discomfort of Evening with gratitude

Ayad Akhtar. Photo: Hachette Book Group/Vincent Tullo

The Kirkus Prize has announced this year’s finalists. Among the fiction finalists are Raven Leilani for Luster and James McBride for Deacon King Kong; nonfiction finalists include Deirdre Mask for The Address Book and Isabel Wilkerson for Caste.

New Yorker staff writer Evan Osnos is publishing Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now this fall from Scribner.

At the New York Times, Parul Sehgal reviews Dutch dairy farmer and poet Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s International Booker Prize–winning novel, The Discomfort of Evening. The book contains scenes of animal torture and incest, and Sehgal notes “it might feel like a peculiar time to pick up a book so mournful and gory. And yet, I went to it every day without dread, with, in fact, a gratitude that surprised me. It was the gratitude of not being condescended to.”

Homeland Elegies author and playwright Ayad Akhtar has been named Jennifer Egan’s successor as president of PEN America.

The Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University has created a searchable database of newsroom layoffs, pay cuts, and closures due to the pandemic.

The Athletic has survived this spring’s sports shutdown and has reached one million subscribers. The site, which publishes more than two hundred stories a day and has over one hundred podcasts, makes about sixty million dollars in subscription revenue, enough to make the newsroom profitable.

At The Atlantic, Ibram X. Kendi writes about “Our Summer of White Male Supremacy.”

On Monday, September 14th, Greenlight Books will host a virtual event with Mychal Denzel Smith and Brit Bennett. The two will discuss Smith’s new book, Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream.