paper trail

Gish Jen and Peter Ho Davies on violence and representation; Amanda Gorman’s “Vogue” cover story

Gish Jen. Photo: © Basso Cannarsa.

On the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast, co-hosted by Whitney Terrell and V. V. Ganeshananthan, writers Gish Jen and Peter Ho Davies talk about violence targeting Asian Americans, representation in pop culture and literature, and potential ways to move forward. Remembering the genesis of her 1991 novel Typical American, Jen talks about the pushback she had to overcome: “Not only did I write a novel, I wrote a novel that claimed full Americanness for Asian Americans. The first line is: ‘It’s an American story.’ I cannot tell you how much flak I got for that. ‘What do you mean, it’s American story?’ ‘How could an Asian American call her novel Typical American?’”

For Vogue’s May cover story, Doreen St. Félix profiles Amanda Gorman. St. Félix relays the story of an American Girl doll named Gabriela, who has an eerie resemblance to Gorman (who read at a celebration of the doll’s release), even though the company claims the doll was not inspired by the poet: “When advertisements for Gabriela crept into her view, or friends would text her excitedly that they had seen her doll, she would avert her gaze, thinking on the mad vinyl thing she had locked away out of sight at home.” The profile notes that distractions like this—along with overwhelming attention from all quarters—can make it difficult for Gorman to do what she does best: “There is a want for cultural saints. A number of secular sects, overlapping around a shared value of multicultural liberalism, seek to draft Gorman to the mantle. And what does Gorman want? For the immediate future? The time and the quiet to finish two books.”

MJ Franklin profiles the New Yorker writer Patrick Radden Keefe, whose new book, Empire of Pain—a deep dive into the Opioid crisis by way of the Sackler family—comes out next Tuesday.

The unions for Gimlet media and The Ringer have reached a three-year contract agreement with their parent company, Spotify. As The Verge reports: “The contracts cover diversity at the company, salary bases, annual raises, and titles. It’s a big step—not just for unionization in podcasting, but also for the tech industry overall, which has been slow to take up unionization and faced union-busting tactics when they do.”

The National Archives will not be allowed to make Trump’s tweets available via the platform in an official online archive, Politico reports. At the moment, there is no official record of the former president’s 26,000-plus tweets.

The PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony is tonight at 7PM EST. Actor Kara Young will present the winners, selected by judges from a longlist of fifty-five books.