paper trail

Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji released from jail; The Rumpus talks to Laura Albert

Laura Albert

Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji has been released from prison pending the appeal of his two-year sentence. Naji was originally convicted of “violating public modesty” after excerpts of his unpublished novel gave a reader “heart palpitations” and “a drop in blood pressure.” A hearing to decide whether Naji will face trial for a third time is scheduled for January 1.

The New Yorker has been chosen as Ad Age’s Magazine of the Year. David Remnick and Lisa Hughes were chosen as Editor and Publisher of the Year.

Columbia Journalism Review talks to Tina Nguyen, whose Vanity Fair review of Trump Grill drew the ire of the president-elect and resulted in a record number of subscriptions for the magazine. Nguyen says that Vanity Fair alerted her to Trump’s tweet about her piece kept an eye on possible threats. “I give Vanity Fair the credit for allowing me to write something like that, and supporting it even when a very scary man tweeted his displeasure toward it,” Nguyen said.

The Rumpus talks to Laura Albert, better known as the author behind JT LeRoy. Albert reminisces about her difficult childhood and complicated relationship with her mother, who was also a writer. Although Albert says she admired her mother’s ethics when it came to her work, she didn’t admire her writing. “She got her tenses and her grammar right, but emotional depth wasn’t in it,” Albert said. “It took me a long time to realize that I’d surpassed her as a writer. I didn’t show her Sarah. I knew she’d try to edit it and I didn’t want her to. She didn’t get a vote.”

After journalists from numerous outlets attended an off-the-record meeting with Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate, the Columbia Journalism Review called the gathering a throwback to 2015, “before Trump had demonized the media and worked to turn a good chunk of the country against it.” FishbowlDC writes that the meeting consisted of “journalists who can’t stop getting played,” and points out that Trump still has not rescheduled his cancelled press conference, which would have been his first in over four months. At Fortune, Mathew Ingram reiterates the need for journalists to stop accepting off-the-record meetings with the president-elect. “The media outlets that participated are being played by a man who instinctively understands the media and how to manipulate it more than probably any previous president—a man who got $2 billion or so worth of free press coverage,” Ingram writes.

Merriam-Webster has chosen surreal as its Word of the Year. The Guardian is nominating unpresidented as its own Word of the Year after a tweet by Donald Trump misspelled unprecedented. Definitions of unpresidented include “an irrecoverable act of folly committed by a president”; “the state of an impeached president”; and the “feeling of loss when a president who has neither the temperament nor the knowledge to actually be president is elected.”