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The winners of this year’s Bancroft Prizes; A roundtable talk on climate change and fiction

Diane Wilson. Photo: Sarah Whiting

At NiemanLab, Natasha Ishak looks at how mainstream media’s coverage of the Atlanta-area shootings ultimately “cast doubt on racist intent behind the mass shootings—despite the facts that the businesses attacked were Asian-owned, the majority of victims were of Asian descent, and the shootings took place amid an uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes across the country.” Mainstream outlets were quick to publish stories about the gunman, including an interview with his grandmother, instead of quoting eyewitnesses and locals as some Korean outlets did. Ruth DeFoster, who researches how American media reports on mass shootings and other large-scale tragedies, has found that most top newsrooms lack standard policies for covering them.

For Literary Hub, Amy Brady hosts a roundtable talk on climate change and fiction with authors Kim Stanley Robinson, Lydia Millet, Diane Wilson, Madeleine Watts, Pitchaya Sudbanthad, Omar El Akkad, and John Lanchester. They discuss getting the science right and how writing fiction that is conscious of the climate catastrophe can feel like an act of translation.

Professor Bruce Sacerdote and researchers Molly Cook and Ranjan Sehgal have come out with a study showing that national news coverage of COVID-19 has been decidedly negative and is consistently negative in both conservative and liberal outlets. As David Leonhardt writes in the Times’s morning newsletter: “The coverage by U.S. publications with a national audience has been much more negative than coverage by any other source that the researchers analyzed, including scientific journals, major international publications and regional U.S. media.”

Tomorrow night at 7 PM EST, the National Book Critics Circle is hosting a virtual ceremony for their 2020 awards. Some of the finalists include Sarah Smarsh on Dolly Parton, Walter Johnson on St. Louis, Martin Amis’s self-reflexive novel, Maggie Doherty’s group biography of women artists in the 1960s, Vivian Gornick’s paen to rereading, Douglas Stuart’s novel drawing on a high-risk literary tradition, and more.

Columbia University libraries has announced the winners of the 2021 Bancroft Prizes in American History and Diplomacy: Andy Horowitz’s Katrina: A History, 1915-2015 and Claudio Saunt’s Unworthy Republic, The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory. Writing about Katrina in Bookforum, Rodriques notes that while Horowitz has a bleak view of the storms to come because of climate change, the author does hold out hope, which “lies in mutual aid and other grassroots attempts to provide safety during hurricanes and in their wake. It lies, in other words, in the people who have suffered so much that they must believe in, and build, a better future to survive.”

Critic and philosopher Becca Rothfeld has sold two essay collections to Metropolitan. The first, All Things Are Too Small, will be “a celebration of cultural excess, disproportion, and abandon, as well as a defense of the idea that a healthy society can marry economic and political equality with aesthetic imbalance.”