paper trail

The controversy over two 2019 Booker Prize winners; Cat Marnell on her new audiobook

Margaret Atwood. Photo: Jean Malek

The Guardian examines the controversy over the decision to award the 2019 Booker Prize to both Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo. Critics noted “that the first black woman ever to win Britain’s most prestigious literary award has had to share it – while receiving half the usual money.” In an op-ed, Booker judge Afua Hirsch defended the choice. “Choosing a winner for the Booker is a curious thing. You read, read and read. . . . Until one day, you have to somehow condense all of this to a single book,” she wrote. “We chose two winners. The outcome would always be imperfect, because it was an impossible task.” Evaristo and Atwood gave a joint interview about the similarities in their work.

At the Columbia Journalism Review, Mike Elk reflects on the lack of national news coverage of the General Motors strike, which involves nearly 50,000 employees in nineteen states and is the first at the company in thirty-nine years. “In another age, walkouts at a company as large as General Motors would have received around-the-clock coverage, appeared on the top of daily newscasts and on front pages,” he writes. “Now, outside of the financial press, the Detroit Free Press, and a few diligent local reporters, the strike is treated as an after-thought.”

Tobias Carroll talks to Deborah Levy about Abbey Road, surrealism, and her new book, The Man Who Saw Everything.

At the New York Times, Lauren Christensen talks to Cat Marnell about addiction, travel, and her new audiobook, Self-Tanner for the Soul. The book is based off diaries Marnell kept during a two-year trip to sixty countries, which she embarked on “with little more than a Samsonite suitcase (nicknamed ‘Sammy’) packed with neon wigs and amphetamines.” Now, sober and staying with her mother outside Washington, DC, Marnell hopes to write a book that is different from her previous work. “This next book I’m going to do is going to be so good. I’m not doing it voicey and bubbly,” she said. “I’m doing it real tight, and focused, almost like poems are.”