paper trail

Novelist Nico Walker on reading Dostoevsky in prison; a memorial fiction prize to honor Anthony Veasna So

Nico Walker. Photo: Penguin Random House/courtesy of the author

At Jacobin, author and former bank robber Nico Walker talks with Alex Press about his time as a medic in Iraq, his novel Cherry, and what he read while in prison: “The selection at Youngstown jail was not great; it was a lot of Louis L’Amour books and thrillers, which I didn’t really enjoy. But I chanced into a copy of The Idiot and saw how he balances a farce and a tragedy at the same time, and does these amazingly well-executed scenes where someone is showing their ass. The guy writes social awkwardness so well.”

In the Washington Post, the story of how journalists from the Baltimore Sun and other papers owned by Tribune Publishing are working to prevent the sale of the chain to Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund known for cutting newsrooms.

For the New Yorker, Hilton Als reviews the new Hemingway documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick: “It’s possible that Hemingway was a complicated shallow person, addicted to the high of being known to feed a continually diminishing self.”

Emily Raboteau and Emily Schiffer write for “The Longest Year: 2020+,” a series of visual and textual essays covering the COVID-19 era, about the work of motherhood during a pandemic.

For Jezebel, Marie Solis reflects on the myth of journalistic objectivity and how the fetishization of bothsidesism favors dominant ideology in cases of sexual assault and police brutality. “It also makes for some crappy writing,” Solis adds. In the Washington Post’s treatment of Felicia Sonmez, a reporter they banned from covering sexual misconduct because she has spoken publicly about her own experiences as a survivor, “objectivity” was reduced “to a state of being; a reporter either has it or she doesn’t. The having, it seems, fundamentally relies on what body a reporter occupies, and the experiences they’ve had in it.”

n+1 has established a $5,000 fiction prize to honor the late writer Anthony Veasna So. It’s a way, said publisher Mark Krotov, to “keep him in front of mind as long as the magazine is around.” The inaugural recipient will be announced in May.

On Monday, April 19, the New Republic is hosting “Rent Sucks,” a panel discussion on how we might reimagine the way we live. Speakers will include Tara Raghuveer, New York Senator Julia Salazar, and Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal, and the talk will be moderated by New Republic deputy editor Katie McDonough. Tickets are free.