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Sally Rooney on her new fiction; The Robert B. Silvers Foundation 2021 grants announced

Sally Rooney

At the New Yorker, Sally Rooney discusses a new story, “Unread Messages,” published in this week’s issue. The author tells David Wallace about her fondness for the middle part of a story, before things need to be wrapped up: “In my non-working life, I play a little bit of chess (very poorly), and the phase of play that I like best is the middle game, after the formal opening is out of the way, when the idea of the game starts to clarify. As a novelist, I think I aim to sustain that middle-game feeling throughout the work.”

Art critic Jerry Saltz tweeted that he’s turned down an offer for $250,000 a year to write for Substack. Despite the offer being “more than double” what Saltz makes at New York magazine, the critic says he doesn’t want a paying audience that knows him, writing, “I want to reach strangers; be loved and hated by strangers.”

The Robert B. Silvers Foundation has announced its 2021 grants for works in progress. Recipients include Emily Raboteau, Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, David Marcus, and Samanth Subramanian.

Critic and novelist Lauren Oyler has sold a new book, Who Cares: On Being Critical, to Harper One. According to Publishers Marketplace, the book is about hot takes, being cool, autofiction, and “the role of emotions in politics and culture.” Oyler recently wrote about trolls and self-consciously “good” people in fiction for Bookforum.

In The Baffler’s July issue, J.W. McCormack writes about Don DeLilio and the writer’s eighteenth novel: “The Silence caps a kind of third phase for DeLillo, if we separate his bibliography into thirds: the wordy, the worldly, and the woo-woo.”

Tonight at 6pm EDT, Politics and Prose books in Washington DC will have a virtual book discussion between Nana Nkweti and Andrew Sean Greer; at 9pm, the Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle hosts Carolyn Ferrell for a virtual event to discuss her debut novel, Dear Miss Metropolitan.