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Stiglitz on Greece; First Novel Prize announces its longlist

Ottessa Moshfegh

"But why would Europe do this?" Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics, weighs in on the situation in Greece, concluding: "I know how I would vote."

The Center for Fiction has announced its longlist for the 2015 First Novel Prize, and those in contention include Ottessa Moshfegh, Ben Metcalf, and Miranda July.

It looks as if Rebekah Brooks, remarkably unscathed by the vast phone-hacking scandal that saw her face criminal charges, will soon make a comeback in Murdoch-land, perhaps as chief executive of News UK.

The French film director Claire Denis, who set Beau Travail, her 1999 reimagining of Melville’s Billy Budd, in Djibouti among the soldiers of the French Foreign Legion, is heading further afield with her first English-language movie, which will take place in space. And she has new writing partners—Zadie Smith and her husband Nick Laird will be collaborating on the script.

Turns out a lot of readers aren’t so keen on Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James—still, she’s probably not unhappy with the scale of her consolation prize.

Literary editor Sam Leith asks if academic presses are the only ones left willing and able to publish serious nonfiction. While trade publishers churn out “voguish but vague,” under-researched, big-idea books of the kind that make you wonder if anyone with a conscience at those houses “might not even now be wriggling in the stationery cupboard with gaffer tape over his mouth and his limbs secured with climbing rope,” the university presses have started picking up and bringing to the general reader the works of history, popular science and biography they used to find elsewhere. Of course, though, publishing hasn’t completely shifted on its axis: You can still find “lousy, abstruse, jargon-heavy books” coming out from academic publishers left and right.

The two big New York tabloids can’t even seem to out-pun each other any more—they’re resorting to nearly identical headlines.