paper trail

Stephen Dixon, 1936–2019

Stepen Dixon

Associated Press sources say that former Trump adviser John Bolton has signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster, for a reported $2 million. According to the New York Times, Bolton is represented by the Javelin literary agency, whose other clients include former FBI Director James Comey and the anonymous Trump administration official, whose much-anticipated A Warning will be released on November 19. Bolton’s book will, according to his publisher, be released before the 2020 elections.

Novelist Stephen Dixon has died. He was eighty-three years old. The Times obituary calls him “experimental,” and his work could be thrillingly complex and metafictional (his novel Phone Rings consists almost entirely of two men talking to each other over the telephone). But the author—who published sixteen novels and around six hundred stories—also had an inviting style: straightforward, realistic, and personal (he wrote beautifully about his late wife). “He was my absolute favorite writer who became my greatest mentor," says Porochista Khakpour, who studied with Dixon at Johns Hopkins. "I learned more from him than any writer I've ever met.”

Amazon Crossing is now the largest publisher of books in translation in the United States. According to Publisher’s Weekly: “Crossing has also produced some of the bestselling titles to emerge from Amazon’s publishing platform, including The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch, which has reached more than 800,000 readers according to the company, and Petra Durst-Benning’s The Glassblower, which has reached 329,000 readers—both translated from German.”

The BBC has released an interesting list of “100 novels that shaped our world,” broken up into categories such as “identity,” “class,” “romance,” “dying,” “rule breakers…”

The Turkish novelist Ahmet Altan, an advocate for Kurdish and Armenian people and the author of books such as I Will Never See the World Again, was arrested in September 2016 for delivering “subliminal messages announcing a military coup," and after the failed Turkish coup that year was given a life sentence for “aiding a terrorist organisation without being a member." His detainment inspired protests and an open letter to Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, signed by Svetlana Alexievich, VS Naipaul, JM Coetzee, and others. Now he has been released. According to Daniel Gorman, director of English PEN: "While we warmly welcome the news that Ahmet Altan and [journalist] Nazlı Ilıcak have finally been released, we nevertheless deeply remain concerned that they and their co-defendants have been convicted on bogus terrorism charges. We continue to call for the release of Fevzi Yazıcı, Yakup Şimşek and Şükrü Tuğrul Ö––zşengül and the many others who remain in detention in Turkey, still the world’s biggest jailer of writers and journalists."