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Toni Morrison dead at 88

Toni Morrison. Photo: John Mathew Smith

Toni Morrison died last night in Manhattan. She was 88. The author of eleven novels and a number of essay collections, Morrison was also the first black woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature and the first black woman to work as an editor at Random House.

At The Millions, S. Kirk Walsh talks to Karen Olsson about Anne Carson, the struggles of novel-writing, and her new book, The Weil Conjectures: On Math and the Pursuit of the Unknown. “I loved reading and thinking about math after so many years away, and I loved not having to tend to all the narrative machinery of a novel,” she said of working on her new book. “There’s a way in which a novelist is a kind of beleaguered manager who has to deal with dissatisfied subordinates and equipment that’s not working and low inventory. This book gave me fewer headaches.”

Literary Hub is hosting a new podcast. Just the Right Book with Roxanne Coady will bring listeners “the conversations you want to hear about the books you need to read.”

The Knight Foundation is giving $1.2 million to the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education to “establish an Equity and Inclusion Transformation Program for newsrooms,” which “will embed specialists in news organizations to assess the organization’s internal processes” and “help establish core workplace values of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

At Slate, Tom Scocca explores how politicians, pundits, and other media figures spread white supremacist ideas by expressing them “on behalf of others” or by attributing them “to the verdicts of history or sociology.”

Oval author Elvia Wilk reflects on “weird” fiction and what it says about reality. “Rather than simply re-drawing boundaries of normality to be more inclusive, ‘to weird’ today could be to map on the same strangeness certain subjects have historically been afforded onto other subjects in order to reveal the inherent strangeness of all such constructs,” she explains. “What feels weird or eerie depends on who you are, and is therefore a political question. Through perceptual flips, New Weird could relocate the weird other from the outside to within. Within the default main character of a story, but perhaps also within the category humanity itself.”