paper trail

Katherine Rundell awarded the Baillie Gifford Prize; Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò has sold a book on political freedom

Katherine Rundell. Photo: Nina Subin/Bloomsbury 

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, author of Elite Capture and Reconsidering Reparations, has sold his next book to Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Autobiography will draw on “thinkers and activists from the Black radical tradition, anti-colonial and environmental movements and the history of philosophy” to explore the idea of political freedom. 

Katherine Rundell has won this year’s Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction for Super-Infinite, her biography of John Donne. According to the judges chair, the decision was unanimous. 

n+1 is running a series of tributes to Mike Davis, the scholar and activist who died in October. “Repetitious and reductive appeals to the universal never satisfied him,” Gabriel Winant writes. “The US working class was forged, for Davis, through its compounded historical defeat, which gave it a distinctive contradictory, battered, and lumpy form that could not be evened out through appeals to abstraction. Most importantly, the cycle of defeat and accommodation had separated the official labor movement from the Black working class, which he saw as the only possible ‘cutting edge’ for socialist politics.”

At The Guardian, Dan Milmo offers some answers to the question: “Could Twitter collapse or go bankrupt?” In the weeks since Elon Musk’s takeover, the site’s staff has been whittled down from 7,500 to less than 1,000 employees.

In his latest Substack post, Brandon Taylor writes about an unsatisfying reading experience, mistaken notions of plot versus character, and the idea that every story has an ideal “degree of freedom” that may or may not be reached. “I want a story where the characters behave in ways that feel natural, like they might surprise the reader or themselves. And yet, I want there to be a shape to the story, a sense that it all means something or might mean something if one looks closely enough. I recognize this as a kind of old-fashioned idea. The idea that experience can have meaning or should have meaning. I suppose that’s why so many people are terrified by interiority.”