paper trail

Pakistan's Lahore LitFest; David Remnick on "difficult writers"

Jessica Valenti

Hugh Eakin reports on the Lahore LitFest in Pakistan. Lahore is a city “under siege.” Terrorist attacks led many intellectuals to leave, and security threats have caused international diplomats to abandon the area. “Checkpoints have become common, blackouts are frequent. And so it was that a group of Lahori intellectuals decided to fight back in the way they best know how: with words and books and open debate.”

Author Joe McGinnis died on Monday at the age of 71. McGinnis was the author of The Selling of the President and, perhaps most famously, the true-crime blockbuster Fatal Vision, about the murder trial of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald. While researching the latter book, McGinnis gained access to MacDonald by pretending to believe that the doctor was innocent; but the book argued that Macdonald was a killer and a sociopath. MacDonald’s efforts to sue McGinnis became the inspiration for Janet Malcolm’s The Journalist and the Murderer, which features the famous line: “"Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible."

The Guardian has hired author and founder Jessica Valenti as a columnist for the publication’s US branch—and several more op-ed page hires are said to be imminent.

Tonight, the National Book Critics Circle will announce the winners of its annual award. At the New Republic, David Remnick talks with Isaac Chotiner about “difficult writers, Obama’s shortcomings, and learning from Anna Wintour.”