• Joseph Pierce
    February 25, 2020

    New support for journalists covering indigenous issues; Barbara London on her new book

    A partnership between Report for America and the Native American Journalists Association will support nineteen reporters covering indigenous issues this year. As Neiman Lab points out, less than one half of one percent of journalists are Native. Professor Joseph Pierce outlines an approach for being an effective reporter in Native communities: “You build trust through listening and through recognizing other people’s knowledge. . . Talking with elders about history is history. It’s not like some tall tale. It’s not an opinion. Granting communities agency over their own stories has really broad

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  • Hilary Mantel. Photo: Els Zweerink
    February 24, 2020

    The first sneak peek at Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light

    The Guardian has published the exclusive first excerpt from Hilary Mantel’s much-awaited The Mirror and the Light, the third and final installment of her series of historical novels featuring Thomas Cromwell. The paper also has an interview with Mantel, who says she finds it amusing that people have claimed that The Mirror and the Light was delayed because she has writer’s block. “I’ve been like a factory!” She also scoffs at the suggestion that the novel’s completion was difficult because she didn’t want to kill off Cromwell. “It’s not something I’ve ever said; it’s what people think I should

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  • Ada Calhoun. Photo: Gilbert King
    February 21, 2020

    Sally Rooney on Henry James and long sentences; Ada Calhoun on the paradox of choice

    On The Maris Review, Maris Kreizman talks to Ada Calhoun about Generation X, making choices, and her new book, Why We Can’t Sleep. “I think the stigma is gone from things in a way that people can make a lot of different choices, like having kids or not having news. Living in the country or in the city. Getting married or getting divorced,” she said. “There is a liberation in that, but it is true that because everything is possible the pressure does increase on each individual woman to make the right choice for them. How do you know?”

    New Republic editor Chris Lehmann tells Mediate about the

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  • Namwali Serpell. Photo: Peg Skorpinski
    February 20, 2020

    Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalists announced; The power of female literary trios

    The Aspen Words Literary Prize shortlist was announced yesterday. The nominees are Christy Lefteri’s The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Brian Allen Carr’s Opioid Indiana, Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Patsy, Bryan Washington’s Lot, and Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in April.

    The Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalists were also announced yesterday. Nominees include Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift, Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School, and, in the newly added Science Fiction category, Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Walter Mosley will receive a lifetime

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  • Julia Phillips. Photo: Nina Subin
    February 19, 2020

    Conor Dougherty on books about the housing crisis; Julia Phillips on the legacy of violence

    Golden Gates author Conor Dougherty lists the books that helped him write his study of the Bay Area’s housing crisis. “Anytime you read a book, even a bad one, you see someone do something you hadn’t thought of before, and it informs how you approach your next piece,” he writes. Selections include Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, Nikole Hannah-Jones’s Living Apart, and Walter Mosley’s White Butterfly.

    Pittsburgh’s African American Cultural Center is creating a permanent exhibit about playwright August Wilson. Opening later this year, August Wilson: A Writer’s Landscape will be arranged in three

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  • Brandon Taylor. Photo: Bill Adams
    February 18, 2020

    Charles Portis has died; Brandon Taylor on being a “reluctant novelist”

    The reclusive writer Charles Portis—author of Norwood and True Grit, among other novels—has died at the age of eighty-six. The New York Times characterizes his work as a mix of “deadpan humor, oddball characters and occasional bursts of melodrama.” For more on Portis, see Ed Park’s 2003 essay from The Believer: “Like Cormac McCarthy, But Funny.”

    At The Outline, Leah Finnegan makes the case for why “We Should All Read more Jenny Diski”: “The casual frankness with which Diski writes is striking, and a necessary tonic in a media landscape prone to making everything seem more urgent than it is.”

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  • Andrea Bernstein. Photo: Matthew Septimus.
    February 14, 2020

    Conde Nast opening five film studios; Andrea Bernstein on oligarchy in America

    Conde Nast’s entertainment division is launching television and film studios for five magazines: the New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Wired and GQ. Each studio will identify editorial projects for screen adaptations and podcasts. New Yorker Studios will produce “Spiderhead” for Netflix, a series based on the George Saunders short story.

    The McClatchy Company, which publishes thirty local newspapers across the country, is filing for bankruptcy. The newspaper chain is more than $700 million in debt. The proposal has hedge fund Chatham Asset Management running McClatchy as a private company.


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  • Hamed Aleaziz
    February 13, 2020

    Hamed Aleaziz on investigating ICE; Zadie Smith on Kara Walker

    The New Republic is redesigning its print edition, introducing a metered paywall to its website, and has launched a new podcast, The Politics of Everything. Editor Chris Lehmann said that the new look has a “strong editorial message at the heart of it. The New Republic was created to address industrial capitalism and the rise of consumer culture . . . and in many ways we are facing many similar challenges in the age of Donald Trump

    A man has been charged with the muder of Irish journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot last year during a riot in Derry. For on McKee’s life and death, see this

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  • Jenny Offill
    February 12, 2020

    Reuters creates an AI reporter; Jenny Offill on climate-change fears

    In the New York Times, Lucinda Rosenfeld reviews Adrienne Miller’s In the Land of Men, a memoir about working for men’s glossy magazines such as Esquire and GQ in the 1990s and her conflicted feelings about David Foster Wallace.

    Reuters has created a virtual sports-reporter powered by artificial intelligence. Synthesia, a firm that worked on the project, told reporters, “AI-generated content will be a cornerstone of the media landscape in the coming decade.” (In the meantime, you can ask Siri questions about the election.) Reuters is also launching a fact-checking business and will work for

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  • Jenn Shapland. Photo: Christian Michael Fildardo
    February 11, 2020

    Pedro Almodóvar working on A Manual for Cleaning Women film; Jenn Shapland on love and objects

    At the New York Times, MJ Franklin talks to Brandon Taylor about short stories, choosing between science and writing, and his new book, Real Life. Before attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Taylor was a Ph.D. student in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin. “I have this very technical approach to almost everything,” he said. “If there is a problem, I first determine the parameters of the problem, and then I try to lay out a very systematic way of doing it.”

    Doubleday has bought a debut novel by literary agent Rachel Yoder. Nightbitch tells the story of “a former artist, now

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  • Sally Rooney. Photo: © Jonny L Davies
    February 10, 2020

    A new prize will provide $100,000 to women and nonbinary writers

    Marie L. Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine removed from her post last spring, is writing a book, and is being represented by the Javelin literary agency, which also represents John Bolton, James Comey, and the anonymous Trump administration official who wrote A Warning.

    A new annual literary prize will provide more than $100,000 to women and nonbinary writers living in the US or Canada. The prize, named after the late Pulitzer-winning Carol Shields, author of the novel The Stone Diaries, will start in 2022.

    The BBC has posted “everything you need to know” about the new miniseries based

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  • Lidia Yuknavitch
    February 07, 2020

    Marilynne Robinson announces next book in Gilead series; Lidia Yuknavitch's favorite writing advice

    Marilynne Robinson will publish the next installment of her Gilead series this year. According to the book listing, “Jack tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the black sheep of his family, the beloved and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister in Gilead, Iowa, a drunkard and a ne’er-do-well.” Jack will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux next October.

    Lidia Yuknavitch tells Literary Hub about her favorite books, the best writing advice she’s ever received, and her new book, Verge. Yuknavitch offers two pieces of writing advice: “Never surrender (Ken Kesey), and when

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