paper trail

Hanif Abdurraqib discusses his new book on Black performance; Moira Donegan on journalistic bias and expertise

Hanif Abdurraqib. Photo: Megan Leigh Barnard

For Literary Hub, Elisa Sotgiu outlines why some scholars believe that Elena Ferrante is the pseudonym of Domenico Starnone, a novelist from Naples who is married to translator Anita Raja (who is also a subject of speculation by readers and scholars.)

At The Guardian, Moira Donegan writes about reporter Felicia Sonmez’s since-overturned suspension from the Washington Post after sharing an article on Twitter about the sexual assault allegations against Kobe Bryant on the day of the basketball player’s death. On Sunday, Politico reported that Sonmez has long been prohibited from covering stories of sexual misconduct because she has publicly disclosed her own experience of sexual abuse. This policy, Donegan writes, raises questions for the media: “Who do we deem too damaged by the world to accurately interpret it? Whose experience do we count as a virtue, and whose do we count as a contaminant?” Sonmez is now allowed to cover these stories.

Hanif Abdurraqib discusses his book on Black performance, A Little Devil in America, with Langa Chinyoka for the Paris Review: “So much of my investment in the celebratory nature of the book, or in the hope that the majority of the book is celebratory, was trying to come to terms with the limits of my affections, and writing with the understanding that—this does feel very cynical to say—I don’t want to take for granted the pleasureful curiosity I have, because it’s not promised, it’s not guaranteed.”

Anna Weiner writes about Clubhouse, a new social media network that lets users speak to each other in audio chat rooms, in the New Yorker. For Weiner, the app is perhaps best used while otherwise occupied, “while folding laundry, cleaning, and running errands; the conversations were more diffuse than radio, less focussed than a podcast, and practically served as white noise—a way to crowd my own voice out of my head.”

In his acceptance speech for the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award, NBC’s Lester Holt shared his thoughts on journalistic objectivity: “The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in. That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention.”

Join us tonight at 7 PM EST for “Don’t Stop Until Your Enemies Are Dead!,” a discussion with Bookforum editor Michael Miller and writers Merve Emre, Jane Hu, Christian Lorentzen, and Karan Mahajan about writing style, making it as an author, and the wages of careerism. The free event is being held via Zoom. You can RSVP here.