paper trail

Shortlisted poets of the T. S. Eliot Prize; Nikki Giovanni in conversation with Kiese Laymon at the Wisconsin Book Festival

Natalie Diaz

Bhanu Kapil, Shane McRae, and Natalie Diaz are among the poets shortlisted for this year’s T. S. Eliot Prize. Five of the ten titles on the list are out from recently established presses, and three are debut collections.

“Why do we believe one set of paranoid, questionable hypotheses and not another?” N. K. Jemisin introduces Time’s “100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time,” which presents influential works of fantasy fiction in chronological order, starting from the ninth century. For Jemisin, the genre is best thought of not as “mere entertainment,” but “as a way to train for reality.”

Last night, as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival, poet Nikki Giovanni spoke with Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy, about Giovanni’s latest collection. You can watch a free recording of their conversation here.

In an interview at OneZero, New York Times media columnist Ben Smith talks newsroom politics, Slack, and regulating Big Tech: “The only normal outcome is some kind of regulatory or legislative framework. That’s just how societies deal with extremely powerful institutions whose actions affect the public interest widely. That was always the end game. It could take a while.”

The Times reports on the American Booksellers Association’s campaign to get people to buy from indie bookstores. Local stores have started covering their windows with signs that say things like: “Buy books from people who want to sell books, not colonize the moon” and “Amazon, please leave the dystopia to Orwell.” The Times writes that these stores are facing “a toxic mix of higher expenses, lower sales and enormous uncertainty,” due to the pandemic and its effect on foot traffic and local economies.

Tomorrow afternoon, via Zoom, Albertine Books in Manhattan is hosting Simone de Beauvoir’s adopted daughter, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, talking about Les Inséparables, Simone de Beauvoir’s unpublished early-1950s novel, which was finally released this fall. Albertine has also announced the shortlist for its 2020 book prize.