paper trail

The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist

Maggie Nelson

This week’s New Yorker includes Hilton Als’s moving profile of Maggie Nelson. Als proposes one answer to the question of why Nelson’s latest book, The Argonauts, about her experiences in queer family-making with her fluidly-gendered partner Harry Dodge, has resonated so widely: “What . . . fans responded to most viscerally, perhaps, was the fact that it’s a book about becoming, both mentally and physically—about what it takes to shape a self, in all its completeness and disarray.” Nelson’s 2007 memoir The Red Parts, about the trial of a man accused in the unsolved 1969 murder of her aunt, was republished last week by Graywolf, and she will be appearing at the New York Public library tomorrow night to discuss the book with Wayne Koestenbaum.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) shortlist has been announced.

Chris Jackson has been selected to revitalize Random House’s One World imprint as its new vice president, publisher, and editor in chief. A New York Times magazineprofile of Jackson earlier this year noted that he has steered important work by authors such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, Victor LaValle, and Mat Johnson into print: “He stands between the largely white culture-making machinery and artists writing from the margins of society, as well as between the work of those writers and the largely white critical apparatus that dictates their success, in both cases saying: This, believe it or not, is something you need to hear.”

New Yorker cartoonist William Hamilton died last Friday in a car crash at the age of seventy-six. Hamilton had contributed cartoons to the magazine for more than fifty years, and its tribute to him includes a selection of them (“I’m nothing,” someone tells the barman, “and yet, I’m all I can think about.”).

Jacob Brogan of Slate takes a look at Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Marvel comic, Black Panther, which he says reflects Coates approach as a comics scholar for both better and worse: “These aren’t Coates’ stories except insofar as they’re all our stories. They belong to the corporate lore of Marvel comics, emerging wraithlike from the dense fog of its decades of narrative continuity. That same fog blankets the issue as a whole, and only those who know the terrain well will manage to negotiate it with ease.”