paper trail

Whiteness in publishing

Nell Zink

As of yesterday, the fiction longlist for the National Book Award is out, and Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life made it, as did Nell Zink’s Mislaid.

Layoffs, layoffs, everywhere (at the Daily News, the Post reports, quoting an “insider,” it’s no longer like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic so much as being “ripped in two like the Titanic just before it sank”).

If you’re looking to do a reverse Michael Derrick Hudson, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop can help.

Meanwhile, the writer Mira Jacob gave a speech at a Publishers Weeklyevent on Wednesday, but not enough publishers actually heard it, so she put it up at Buzzfeed too: “White Americans can care about more than just themselves. They really can. And the rest of us? We are DYING to see ourselves anywhere. To be clear: I’m not asking for altruism here. I worked in corporate America for 20 years before I put my book out; I know the stakes, the economics. What I am saying makes solid, actual business sense: There is a vast, untapped audience out there. . . there’s a huge gap between the many American experiences and the books that speak to them. . . . You will ignore us at your own peril—to the industry’s peril.”

Renaissance man James Franco has started a biweekly film column at Indiewire—or two columns, if you count the two Franco personae (James and Semaj) who will be on show. The gimmick is nominally intended to help the movie star get away with moonlighting as a critic, because “a one-sided take on a movie, in print, might be misconstrued as a review.” “As someone in the industry,” runs part of the intro to the first column, “it could be detrimental to James's career if he were to review his peers, because unlike the book industry—where writers review other writer's books—the film industry is highly collaborative, and a bad review of a peer could create problems.”

After its relaunch a few months ago, the New York Times Magazine seems ready to settle down—Ana Marie Cox (founder of Wonkette) will be its regular interviewer with a weekly Talk feature, and philosophy and law professor Kwame Anthony Appiah will become its sole Ethicist (that’s “advice columnist” to you).

But we all know the real joy of reading the Times is in the art of the headline.