paper trail

Ken Liu on translating Chinese science fiction; Naja Marie Aidt on writing through grief

Naja Marie Aidt. Photo: Mikkel Tjellesen

“I questioned myself many times: why would I take on the pain of writing this book––writing it in the middle of my raw grief, in the middle of my shock and my trauma?” Naja Marie Aidt tells John Freeman about writing her recently published book, When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back. “I didn’t want my son’s story to kind of meld into every book I would write in the future, and I also knew, most importantly, that, you know, I was completely changed as a human being, as a person, and maybe also as a writer. So I felt I had no choice but to find a way to express this, or explore this horrible moment in my life.”

After forty years, The Unbearable Lightness of Being author Milan Kundera’s Czech citizenship has been restored.

For the New York Times Magazine, Alexandra Alter talks to Ken Liu, translator of Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem, about science fiction, censorship, and navigating the “political minefields” of translating works by Chinese authors. “It’s a very tricky dance of trying to get the message that they’re trying to convey out, without painting the writers as dissidents,” he said. “A lot of Chinese writers are very skilled at writing something ambiguously, such that there are multiple meanings in the text. I have to ask them, how explicit do you want me to be in terms of making a certain point here, because in the original it’s very constrained, so how much do you want me to tease out the implications you’re making?”

Hearst has created “a glossy, misinformation-packed and very aggressive anti-union site” to disuade editorial employees from organizing, Vice’s Anna Merlan reports. “The site goes through all the hits,” writes Merlan. “Pretending that union membership takes away one's inalienable rights. Claiming that the dues are cripplingly expensive. Implying, without evidence, that employees have been pressured to sign union cards. And, inevitably, claiming that conditions at Hearst are already great, so why would you unionize?”

The New York Times is opening up “its traditional closed-door endorsement process for Democratic presidential aspirants,” Politico’s Michael Calderone reports. The editorial board will film interviews with candidates that could possibly be used on the Times’s FX show, The Weekly. “The show will also feature the editorial board’s deliberations, and the final decision on whom the board chooses to endorse will be revealed on television,” deputy editorial page editor Kathleen Kingsbury explained.

The Ringer’s Kate Knibbs profiles Slava Pastuk, the former Vice Canada editor who is on trial for trafficking cocaine internationally while working at the company. “They really made a mountain out … it’s not a molehill, but they really made a big mountain out of a smaller mountain,” he said of the crime. According to one former employee Stef McCarrol, no one in the office was surprised when Pastuk was arrested: “I remember just being like, oh, this is the most on-brand story that could happen to this office.”