paper trail

Margo Jefferson on Michael Jackson

Margo Jefferson

Elton John, who is currently on what he says will be his final tour, has announced that he has finished his autobiography, which will be published on October 15. According to John, “My life has been one helluva roller coaster ride and I’m now ready to tell you my story, in my own words.” Henry Holt, the musician’s publisher, is calling the book “no holds barred.”

At The Cut, Anna Sillman interviews the Pulitzer-winning critic Margo Jefferson, who in 2006 released the critical study On Michael Jackson. Now that she’s seen the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, she has this to say about her critical work about the pop star: “When I think back on my book, I certainly say he’s very damaged and that he clearly can’t quite distinguish between adult and childhood behavior, and that it is all strange. I think what’s missing is my saying in that last chapter: ‘alright, what if he is guilty? Where do we start, what do we think next? Where do our thoughts and feelings go?’” She is currently writing a new introduction for some editions of the book. “It’s difficult because it’s all painful. It’s all excruciating.”

“Is it time to get rid of the Nobel prize in literature?” wonders Carrie V Mullins at Electric Literature. “At minimum, after 124 years it’s worth reconsidering what it’s adding to the cultural landscape.”

“I teach creative writing and I think it’s not like making a souffle; you can’t give anyone the steps to follow,” says Bowlaway author Elizabeth McCracken. “It can’t be taught in the way life drawing can. But you can teach people how to notice what the work they admire is doing, and to sit around a table and look at their writing and how to make it achieve what it wants to achieve.”

According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, nearly one in five Americans now listen to audiobooks, but print books remain more popular than ebooks and audiobooks.

Gillian Freeman—who wrote novels, screenplays, and scenarios for ballets—has died at age eighty-nine. Her novels included The Leather Boys, and her work, says the New York Times, “dealt with social and sexual distress, in this case a relationship between a middle-class teacher and a sailor of nebulous sexuality.”