paper trail

Ben Lerner on whiteness; Rebecca Traister on Ronan Farrow's Catch and Kill

Ben Lerner. Photo: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

At Literary Hub, Ocean Vuong talks to Ben Lerner about space, whiteness, and his new novel, The Topeka School. “Part of what makes writing worthwhile—for the writer and for the reader—is not just what artistry achieves but how it fails, how it is necessarily disfigured by history, which includes, which is dominated by, what Baldwin called the ‘lie’ of whiteness,” he said. “Certainly this is a book about whiteness, is more intensely focused than my others on how racist (and other forms of) violence fills the vacuum at the heart of privilege for white boys on the cusp of becoming white men, how whiteness is a radical imaginative poverty. But I don’t pretend I got it right or that getting it right is the point of making art.”

Tiger Woods is writing a memoir. Back will be published by HarperCollins, although no release date has been set.

Rebecca Traister reflects on Ronan Farrow’s new book, Catch and Kill. “The reveal in Catch and Kill is not that there are corrupt people; it’s that corrupt people are in control of our media, politics, and entertainment and that, in fact, many of them remain in control,” she writes. “In his detailed laying out of systemic dread, Farrow does much to vividly describe the kind of horror story we still live in, when it comes to harassment and assault and, more broadly, to power imbalances and abuses.”

Entertainment Weekly pairs up Ann Pachett and Elizabeth Strout to talk about technology, writing, and their respective new books, The Dutch House and Olive, Again. While Strout says she owns and enjoys her e-reader and cell phone, Patchett said she avoids most new technology. “I’ve never done any social media, I don’t text. I just don’t do any of those things,” she explained. “When people raise their hands at events and say, ‘How do you have time to read all these books?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t use the internet, and I don’t use a cell phone, and I don’t have kids.’”

Dublin city councillors are attempting to repatriate the remains of James Joyce and his family ahead of the 2022 centenary of his novel, Ulysses. James, along with his wife and son, are buried in Zurich. “There may be people who are not fans of this and want to let sleeping dogs lie. Joyce is a controversial figure, there are no doubts about that,” said councillor Paddy McCartan. “Exile was a key element in his writing but for it to follow him into eternity? I don’t think that was part of the plan.”

British TV network Sky News is launching a "Brexit Free" channel in response to a Reuters report that "found that more than a third of UK news consumers were avoiding the news" because of Brexit coverage. “The new channel simply gives people the option to take a break from Brexit, apply a filter to their headlines and hear about issues away from Westminster and Brussels with a focus on hard-hitting, original journalism," explained Sky News executive John Ryley.