paper trail

Don DeLillo wins a medal

Joy Williams

Don DeLillo will receive this year’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. He took the opportunity (via the Associated Press) to offer some career advice to other novelists: "It's true that some of us become better writers by living long enough. But this is also how we become worse writers. The trick is to die in between."

The New York Times magazine has a profile of Joy Williams, whose collected stories are about to be published—although she tells Dan Kois that most of them “aren’t getting close to what I’m trying to accomplish.” (Her expectations for the story form are high: Reading one, she wants “to be devastated in some way.”) Williams, Kois writes, “talks like a Joy Williams character”: “The rhythms of our conversation—chitchat punctuated by silence interrupted by exclamations of despair and rage—were like none I’d ever had before.”

More trouble in magazine paradise: The National Labor Relations Board just filed a complaint against Time Inc. for allegedly breaking federal labor laws.

With the publication of the last novel in the Neapolitan series, The Story of the Lost Child, “Ferrante fever” returns.

“Scoop machine” Dylan Byers is leaving Politico to work for CNN.

The LRB letters page goes from strength to strength. This fortnight, among other things, we learn where the writer Elizabeth Hardwick stood on the subject of abandoning one’s children, and that Oulipian constraints are not so arbitrary after all (that last point courtesy of Lauren Elkin, who reviewed Sphinx,a “genderless” novel bythe female Oulipian Anne Garréta, for Bookforum’s website).