paper trail

Kevin Killian, 1952–2019

Novelist, poet, biographer, and playwright Kevin Killian died this weekend, his spouse, the writer Dodie Bellamy, has announced. A key member of the New Narrative movement, Killian was the author of Bedrooms Have Windows (recently reissued by Semiotext(e)), the poetry collections Argento Series (which dwelled on the horror director Dario Argento and the AIDS crisis) and Action Kylie (an ode of sorts to Kylie Minogue), the story collection Impossible Princess, and (with Lewis Ellingham) the biography Poet Be Like God: Jack Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance. Killian was incredibly generous to other arrtists and writers. He wrote 2,639 Amazon reviews. There are hundreds of tributes appearing online. "Such a giant sweet heart and incredible writer who was so open and loving to all us little writers and queerdos, so inspiring always," writes Michelle Tea. "Thank you Kevin Killian for all those years of your generosity of spirit and joie de vivre," writes Rebecca Solnit.

Scribner has purchased Milk Fed, the book by novelist and poet Melissa Broder. According to Broder (author of So Sad Today and The Pisces, among other books), the new novel is "the story of a reform Jewish woman with an eating disorder who has an affair with the zaftig orthodox Jewish woman working at her local frozen yogurt shop."

Lore Segal—who as a child escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna on a train and went on to become a novelist in New York—talks to The Millions about her new book, The Journal I Did Not Keep, and about her career as a writer. "I was [first] published when I was 30. I had spent ten years in England, three years in the Dominican Republic. I always say it took me 13 years to get from Vienna to New York. It was here that I walked around thinking, I don’t have anything to write about. Everyone already knows about Hitler. I took classes at the New School. I knew a lot of writers at the New School, we were all sending things out. And you had to pay someone to type your story, then you put it in the envelope, with a self-addressed stamped envelope so they could send you the story back, so you could put it in another envelope. I think in 1958, I had finally published three pieces. And then I sent one to The New Yorker and I put in a little message with the submission: Is there anyone there? I know there’s a pencil that keeps writing ‘sorry’ at the end of my rejection slips. They noticed the theme of it, and they noticed that I had published a story on a related theme in Commentary. And they called me up on the phone and they said, Would you like to write a series on this? I couldn’t believe it."

M. R. O’Connor, the author of Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World, has written an op-ed for the Washington Post titled "Ditch the GPS. It’s ruining your brain." "In a study published in Nature Communications in 2017," O'Connor writes, "researchers asked subjects to navigate a virtual simulation of London’s Soho neighborhood and monitored their brain activity, specifically the hippocampus, which is integral to spatial navigation. Those who were guided by directions showed less activity in this part of the brain than participants who navigated without the device."

Susannah Hunnewell, a publisher of the Paris Review, has died.