paper trail

Zadie Smith to publish work of historical fiction; The wisdom of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Zadie Smith

The Washington Post looks at the Trump administration’s plan to discredit journalists who report on Donald Trump Jr.’s emails. Sources say that the president’s operatives may take on “an extensive campaign” of combing through reporters’ previously published work “to exploit any mistakes or perceived biases.” The New York Times notes that Trump Jr.’s decision to release his emails ahead of the paper’s report may “have long-term implications for the Trumps’ ability to shape coverage.” At the New Yorker, Joshua Yaffa examines Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s relationship to the Kremlin, while Jeffrey Toobin looks at whether the emails contain evidence of Trump Jr. breaking the law. At the magazine’s copy desk, department head Andrew Boynton explains the reasoning behind the New Yorker’s decision to format Trump Jr.’s suffix as “Jr.,’s” in a headline, a choice that annoyed many Twitter users. “With ‘Jr.’ occuring in the middle of a line, where else is the possessive indicator supposed to go?” he asks. “Now it can comfortably stand alongside the diaeresis and ‘focussing.’”

Former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile is working on a book about the 2016 election. Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House will be published by Hachette Books on November 7, one year after the election.

Zadie Smith has signed a two-book deal with Hamish Hamilton in the UK and Penguin Press in the US. The first book, a collection of Smith’s short stories, will be published in 2019. The second, a work of historical fiction titled The Fraud, will be published soon after.

Journalist Dana Canedy has been appointed as the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. Canedy is a former editor and reporter at the New York Times, where she won her own Pulitzer in 2001 as the lead journalist on the series “How Race Is Lived in America.” Poynter notes that Canedy is both the first woman and first person of color to administer the prize.

The Center for Fiction has announced the longlist for the 2017 First Novel Prize. Nominees include George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo and Julie Buntin’s Marlena.

Translator Anna Summers reflects on her relationship with Russian author Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. Summers recalls a fundraiser that she attended with Petrushevskaya, where “one by one, women sat down on the chair next to her like pilgrims” and told the author their own stories of “mental and emotional turmoil.” Sitting with Petrushevskaya afterwards, Summers found herself doing the same thing. “I suddenly understood why the women pilgrims had flocked to her. Almost without meaning to, I found myself telling her my own tale of marital crisis,” she remembers. “Petrushevskaya transformed: storytelling is her trade, and here was a woman with a story that she had encountered in every possible version and put to paper dozens of times. Plays and small talk were forgotten. An exhausted old woman was replaced by a goddess of wisdom.”