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The 2021 Whiting Creative Nonfiction grantees; Molly Fischer profiles the late anthropologist David Graeber

Ashley D. Farmer. Photo: Kelly Davidson

The Whiting Foundation has announced the recipients of its Creative Nonfiction Grant. Among the awardees, all of whom will receive $40,000 while working on their books, are Lorelei Lee, Ashley D. Farmer, Sangamithra Iyer, and Rebecca Clarren.

The New Republic’s Alex Shephard writes about the University of Austin, Bari Weiss’s proposed anti-woke college: “In general, it has more in common with Masterclass, the fake online ‘school’ where you can pay a few hundred dollars to have Carlos Santana teach you how to noodle an electric guitar into submission, than with any actual university.”

The Verge is updating their public ethics policy on speaking to corporate communications contacts and PR professionals “on background.” The Verge’s new policy emphasizes that background will be treated as an agreement, not as the default condition of reporting that some big tech companies have come to treat it as. Instead, the default will be that such communications are on the record: “We’re doing this because big tech companies in particular have hired a dizzying array of communications staff who routinely push the boundaries of acceptable sourcing in an effort to deflect accountability, pass the burden of truth to the media, and generally control the narratives around the companies they work for while being annoying as hell to deal with.”

At Vulture, Jennifer Wilson reviews The Sentence, Louise Erdrich’s new novel of a woman who works at an Indigenous book store in Minneapolis. The novel is set in 2020 and spans the Black Lives Matter protests launched in the wake of George Floyd’s murder as well as the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, Wilson finds that for all its “urgency,” the novel lacks distance: “It’s permeated by the false optimism that emerged in the face of multiracial protests, with feel-good resolutions and simplistic narratives about solidarity. No one who joined the marches last summer can deny that it did feel like we were on the verge of something, and Erdrich’s novel, particularly its conclusion, is fused with that confidence.”

Molly Fischer profiles the late anthropologist David Graeber for The Intelligencer. Tonight at 7pm Eastern, the Brooklyn Public Library, Greenlight Bookstore, and n+1 will cohost a discussion of The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, which was cowritten by Graeber and David Wengrow, with Astra Taylor, Silvia Federici, Stephanie Kelton, and Wengrow.