paper trail

Marlon James on season two of “Marlon & Jake Read Dead People”; Matthew Karp on the political power of US history

Marlon James. Photo: Mark Seliger.

The Los Angeles Times talks with Marlon James about season two of the podcast Marlon & Jake Read Dead People, which James co-hosts with Riverhead editor Jake Morrissey. The show is a lively forum for discussions of books from the past—hence the title—and James and Morrissey are not afraid to mix it up, as James observes: “Our conversations are always very discursive. Jake would drop an allusion, and I would say, ‘That writer’s a jackass!’”

Tomorrow is the Royal Society of Literature’s Dalloway Day 2021, a celebration of Virginia Woolf’s novel held every year on a Wednesday in mid-June. This year there will be writing workshops, virtual panels, and a virtual tour of Bloomsbury. At 11am, a LitHub podcast will go live, featuring a discussion between Deborah Levy and Merve Emre, moderated by LitHub editor Corinne Segal.

For Harper’s Magazine, Matthew Karp looks at the ways in which the American right and left use—and abuse—the country’s history for political ends: “American conservatives, traditionally attracted to history as an exercise in patrimonial devotion, have in the time of Trump abandoned many of their older pieties, instead oscillating between incoherence and outright nihilism. Liberals, meanwhile, seem to expect more from the past than ever before. Leaving behind the End of History, we have arrived at something like History as End.”

For Politico, Daniel Lippman and Meredith McGraw talk with editors at the Big Five publishing houses about the trouble with publishing a memoir by Donald Trump. One source emphasized that fact-checking would be a major issue: “If he can’t even admit that he lost the election, then how do you publish that?”

At The Nation, Haley Mlotek considers Joan Didion’s latest essay collection, Let Me Tell You What I Mean, and the tendency of readers to love or hate her work. The new collection, Mlotek finds, should be “enough to convince anyone that her writing is often more evocative than empathetic, more interested in style than in meaning.” Didion’s own views, “while often contradictory and strange, were not all that inscrutable. . . . Her ideology is right there for the reader—laid out on the page, waiting for your interpretation.”

Today is the last day to apply for the Grove Atlantic publishing fellowship. Applicants do not need any experience or academic degree to apply. The position pays $25,000 and includes benefits for part-time work over the course of its one-year term.