paper trail

Ocean Vuong on the myth of the wunderkind; Jeanette Winterson on disruptive technology

Ocean Vuong. Photo: Tom Hines

Ocean Vuong reflects on the myth of the wunderkind and lists ten of the books he turned to while writing On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. “The truth is no writer comes ‘out of nowhere,’” he writes, “and wunderkinds are only as real as our aversion to a more sobering—albeit less glamorous—reality: that a writer’s growth is often a slog, the slow burn of reading and trying and failing when, finally, by some luck or mercy, the book you’re reading turns into a torch in your hands.”

Bustle Digital Group is launching a tech news website next month. Input “will deliver staples such as device reviews and quick-hit news about tech and software companies” but will “differentiate through voice and distinctive packaging.”

California Representative Devin Nunes is suing Ryan Lizza and Hearst over an Esquire article published last year about his family farm in Iowa.

At the New York Times, Priya Krishna looks at the narrowing profit margins for cookbook writers. Although cookbook sales are increasing, publishers regularly offer writers contracts with no advances or budget for recipe testing. “Many chefs and writers are asked to write cookbooks and food books for very little, and sometimes nothing,” she writes. “In the current publishing landscape, there is an expectation that people will do a lot more for a lot less.”

Mark O’Connell talks to Jeanette Winterson about AI, transhumanism, and her new book, Frankissstein. “We hear so much about disruptive technologies, and somehow we’re meant to think this heroic, because men (and it is men) seem to have a need to feel heroic, whether it’s killing people in wars or imposing austerity (‘difficult decisions have to be made’), or smashing into a city with something like AirBnB or Uber and feeling like a pioneer when all you are doing is ruining communities and pushing down wages,” she said, comparing tech startups to Frankenstein’s monster. “The social media platforms situate themselves as heroic. What have they done but increase hatred, misery, and anxiety? Oh, and make money.”