paper trail

Paul Beatty reflects on his Man Booker win; TheRoot votes to unionize

Rabih Alameddine

Paul Beatty talks to The Guardian about his Man Booker win for his novel The Sellout. The book almost wasn’t in the running for the prize—it was rejected by eighteen publishers in the UK. “I get hurt when I meet editors who tell me about books they really liked but couldn’t publish,” said Beatty as he reflected on his past rejections. “I don’t know what that means.” Eventually, the novel was picked up by independent press Oneworld, who also published last year’s winner, Marlon James’s A History of Seven Killings.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be writing a book on global warming with former Sierra Club director and chairman Carl Pope. St. Martin’s Press will publish Overheated: How Cooler Heads Can Cool the World next April.

Staff of TheRoot, another Univision property, have voted to unionize. The website will join Fusion and Gizmodo Media in being represented by the Writers Guild of America, East. In their announcement, the website stated that the choice to unionize “is not a declaration of war,” and looked to “the great James Baldwin, who once said, ‘I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.’ We would like to consider this public statement the beginning of a continual dialogue in which we all work together to make the organization better.”

Quartz has made its first foray into foreign-language media with a new email newsletter, La Agenda. After starting English-language sites in India and Africa, senior editor Gideon Lichfield said the site was looking for underserved markets, saying that “Spanish seemed the most interesting.” The newsletter will be made up of both original content and pieces translated from their English-language Daily Brief.

The Museum of Modern Art announced yesterday that the original 176 emojis will become part of its permanent collection. Created a decade before the more recognizable iPhone emojis, “the first pictographs to make their way into mobile communication” could be found on Japanese pagers in the 1990s. “Looking back at old emoji,” the New York Times writes, “feels a bit like trying to read pictographs from an ancient civilization.”

Rabih Alameddine talks to John Freeman about rage as a motivator for his novels. “Usually what I write about are things that I’m obsessed with, and usually things that I’m obsessed with are things that I’m angry about,” said Alameddine, whose most recent novels are An Unnecessary Woman and The Angel of History. “So what usually comes out is uncomfortable for people. But my existence is uncomfortable for a lot of people.”

Tonight at Albertine, Maaza Mengiste talks to Salman Rushdie about his most recent novel, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, which was recently published in France.