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Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo win the 2019 Booker Prize; Harold Bloom, 1930–2019

Bernardine Evaristo. Photo: Jennie Scott

Professor and literary critic Harold Bloom has died at age 89. Bloom had written over twenty books and was still teaching until last week.

Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments and Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other have both won the 2019 Booker Prize. After five hours of deliberation, the judges chose to give the award to both authors, “despite being told repeatedly by the prize’s literary director, Gaby Wood, that they were not allowed to split the £50,000 award.” Evaristo is the first black woman and first black British author to win the prize. “These are two books we started not wanting to give up and the more we talked about them the more we treasured both of them and wanted them both as winners,” judging chair Peter Florence said. “We tried voting, that didn’t work. . . . There’s a metaphor for our times.”

“It’s all very well there being a rich and diverse literary response to #MeToo, but if men don’t engage with it, what will change?” asks The Guardian’s Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett.

The Hollywood Reporter has obtained a memo from NBC News president Noah Oppenheim responding to the allegations in Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill, which hits shelves today. “Farrow’s effort to defame NBC News is clearly motivated not by a pursuit of truth, but an axe to grind. It is built on a series of distortions, confused timelines, and outright inaccuracies,” Oppenheim writes.

At Columbia Journalism Review, Tiffany Stevens talks to Dopesick author Beth Macy about feature writing, objectivity, and the difference between activists and journalists. “We all have biases,” she said. “I think being fair and being truthful should be what guides us.”

At the New York Times, Vanessa Friedman and Jon Caramanica debate the pros and cons of Rihanna’s recently announced “visual autobiography.” Caramanica praises the book for capturing “the off-the-cuffness of Rihanna’s celebrity,” while Friedman feels a bit disappointed at the lack of new biographical material. “This is a book for the Rihanna Navy, not the public at large looking for illumination or understanding,” she said.