paper trail

Paula Mejía on H. G. Carrillo’s fabrications; Sarah Weinman is the new crime columnist at the New York Times Book Review

Sarah Weinman. Photo: Anna Ty Bergman

New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet has responded to criticism of the paper’s recent statement announcing reporter Donald McNeil’s resignation following a Daily Beast story revealing his use of a racial slur. Baquet and managing editor Joe Kahn told staff that the paper does not “tolerate racist language regardless of intent.” Baquet has since clarified: “Of course intent matters when we are talking about language in journalism.”

Paula Mejía remembers her former professor and celebrated fiction writer H. G. Carrillo, who, after his death from COVID-19 in April, was revealed to have fabricated the Cuban heritage he wrote about in his novel Losing My Espanish. When Carrillo (born Herman Carroll) was first publishing his writing, in the late 1990s, “a spate of high-profile literary hoaxes had put notions of authorship and identity in flux.” Mejía examines how his case—as Carrillo was a Black man who cultivated an identity he did not actually claim—differs from other instances of passing, notably that of Jessica Krug.

Elizabeth A. Harris talks with literary agents about the “morals clauses” that have become common in contracts at major publishers. Simon & Schuster recently invoked the clause in order to drop Senator Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book. “While some in the industry fear that the decision to cancel Mr. Hawley’s book sets a dangerous precedent, many publishing professionals—even agents and authors opposed to morals clauses—said they thought Simon & Schuster made the right call.”

Sarah Weinman, author of The Real Lolita, is the new crime columnist at the New York Times Book Review, replacing Marilyn Stasio, who has written the column since 1988.

The Paris Review Daily blog has published an essay by Rebecca Bengal from But Still, It Turns, a collection of photographs accompanying a new show of the same name at the International Center of Photography. Reflecting on works by Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa, Kristine Potter, Richard Choi, Gregory Halpern, Vanessa Winship, and others, Bengal writes about encountering and revisiting their images over time: “I began to understand their shared subject as the nature of time itself: how we perceive it, how we exist in it, how it exists in us, how it connects us.”