paper trail

Colm Tóibín named chancellor of University of Liverpool; Abrams announces photo book of Women's March

Colm Tóibín

The Weekly Standard reports that the conservative, pseudonymous writer Publius Decius Mus, who advanced one of the few intellectual arguments in support of Trump during the 2016 election, is now a senior national-security official in the Trump administration. As Decius, Michael Anton wrote numerous articles for the Claremont Review of Books website insisting “that electing Trump and implementing Trumpism was the best and only way to stave off American decline—making a cerebral case to make America great again.” Anton had previously worked for the Bush administration in a similar security role and “unlike most of his colleagues, can readily quote Roman histories and Renaissance thinkers.”

Novelist Colm Tóibín has been named chancellor of the University of Liverpool. The Brooklyn author is currently a humanities professor at Columbia University. In a statement, Tóibín emphasized the need to protect the livelihood of academics in the current political climate. “I think in the next few years the connections that universities make will be important,” Tóibín said, “and I hope to be involved in that and to use all my energy to help in any way.”

Abrams has announced a photo book of images from the Women’s Marches that took place the day after the inauguration. Why I March: Images from the Women’s March Around the World will be released on February 21. Abrams president and CEO Michael Jacobs said the sped-up publication was in order “to commemorate and confirm the energy, hope, solidarity, and strength that millions of people displayed that day.”

Viet Thanh Nguyen talks to Time about his most recent book, The Refugees. Nguyen highlighted the similarities between the wave of refugees that came to the US after the Vietnam War and the Syrian refugees who are now barred from the US under the Trump administration’s executive order. Nguyen said that he chose the title of the book to point out that the fear of refugees, now focused on Middle Eastern immigrants, is not a new phenomenon. “The majority of Americans did not want Vietnamese refugees in 1975, and yet at this point in time I think that's been forgotten,” Nguyen said. “Instead Vietnamese Americans are often held up as examples of the positive aspects of immigration."

LitHub talks to director Raoul Peck about I Am Not Your Negro, his Oscar-nominated film about James Baldwin that opens in theaters today. Peck says that he is “a total product of Baldwin,” and that the author’s criticism helped shape his worldview. “For a young black man in the 1960s . . . there were not many things around to help you understand your world,” Peck said. “It could be frustrating to read, let’s say Faulkner, and you’re totally in the story, and then at one moment you realize the character that is the closest to you is maybe the fifth, the sixth, or the eighth character.”