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New inductees to the American Academy of Arts and Letters; Cathy Park Hong in conversation with Charles Yu

Cathy Park Hong

In an effort to make its membership more diverse, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, once made up almost entirely of Christian white men, is increasing the number of inductees for the first time since 1908. “We’re expanding the membership so that it is more clearly representative of this country,” says the academy’s president, architect Billie Tsien. “Also, it’s a matter of numbers. When the academy was first established, the population was much smaller. Now there are more people, and more kinds of people.” New writers who have been inducted this year include US poet laureate Joy Harjo, author-journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, poet Kevin Young, former US poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith, and critic Hilton Als.

The New York Times has added an editor’s note to Emily Mortimer’s “How ‘Lolita’ Escaped Obscenity Laws and Cancel Culture,” which has been adapted from the anthology Lolita in the Afterlife, which comes out next week. The note reads: “An earlier version of this essay included several sentences adapted, without attribution, from an article by Caitlin Flanagan, ‘How “Lolita” Seduces Us All,’ that appeared in the September 2018 issue of The Atlantic. The essay has been revised to attribute those passages.”

Michelle Dean, a book critic and the author of Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion, has been hired to write Stolen Time, a biopic about the wrongfully convicted death row inmate Sonia “Sunny” Jacobs. Jacobs and her husband, Jesse Tafero, were convicted of the fatal shooting of two police officers based on false testimony. According to Deadline, Dean and the movie’s producer Juliet Blake “are reviewing over 2,500 personal letters sent between Jacobs and Tafero during their fifteen-year incarceration.”

In a high-six-figure deal, Ecco has purchased Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel, Remarkably Bright Creatures, about a widow, an octopus, and a grifter who join forces to “unlock a truth tied to [the widow’s] son’s disappearance 30 years ago.” The novel, which will be released in 2022, has also been purchased in a number of international deals.

Tonight at 8 PM Eastern time, Charles Yu, author of the National Book Award–winning Interior Chinatown will participate in a discussion with Cathy Park Hong to celebrate the paperback release of her book Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. You can register here.