• Eric Jerome Dickey. Photo: Joseph Jones
    January 06, 2021

    New fiction by Charles Yu; Hanif Abdurraqib remembers Eric Jerome Dickey

    Nieman Lab has asked “some of the smartest people in journalism” for their 2021 predictions.

    Hanif Abdurraqib writes about his gratitude for Eric Jerome Dickey, the best-selling novelist who died yesterday at age fifty-nine. For Abdurraqib, Dickey was an inspiration not just for his output, but for his roundabout path to becoming an author: “I’m always thankful for the life he lived before that. A life where he was still a writer, no matter what else he was doing.”

    At Entertainment Weekly, read an excerpt of Interior Chinatown author Charles Yu’s latest work of fiction.

    At The Cut, MacArthur

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  • Lindsay Peoples Wagner. Photo: Tom Newton
    January 05, 2021

    The Cut names Lindsay Peoples Wagner as its new editor

    The Cut has named Lindsay Peoples Wagner as its new editor in chief. Peoples Wagner was formerly the editor of Teen Vogue and a one-time fashion editor at The Cut.

    At Vulture, Lila Shapiro gives a full debrief of the American Dirt controversy, one of the biggest book stories of 2020.

    At the New Yorker, Hua Hsu remembers the masked wordsmith MF Doom, whose death at age forty-nine was reported this week. Hsu writes of the late rapper and producer, “He was an artist who took experiences that might have turned someone else cynical and cold and channelled them into a persona that retained a kind

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  • Fran Lebowitz. Photo: Christopher Macsurak
    January 04, 2021

    Fran Lebowitz talks about her latest film project with Martin Scorsese

    Fran Lebowitz talks about her latest film project, Pretend It’s a City, with Martin Scorsese.

    New work by Lauren Groff, Zadie Smith, Haruki Murakami, Hanif Abdurraqib, Louise Glück, Maggie Nelson, Colson Whitehead, Jonathan Franzen, and many more: The Guardian has published a list of books and literary events to “look forward to this year.

    Bozoma Saint John, the global chief marketing officer for Netflix, has sold a memoir, The Urgent Life, to Viking.

    The latest episode of the Slate Money podcast features an interview with Jacob Goldstein, author of Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing

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  • Claire Messud. Photo: Ulf Andersen.
    December 31, 2020

    The year in books; Claire Messud on creative nonfiction

    The hedge fund Alden Global is looking to buy national newspaper chain Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, the Daily News, and other papers. Alden is currently Tribune’s largest shareholder and, as the Wall Street Journal notes, “A deal would have far-reaching implications for an industry beset by sharp declines in revenue over the past 20 years that have led to a wave of consolidation and cost cuts.” Tribune has laid off reporters and shut down newsrooms in 2020 as well sold off its e-commerce business.

    At the New York Times, John Williams recaps the year

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  • Candacy Taylor. Photo: Katrina Parks, Assertion Films
    December 30, 2020

    Booksellers recommend their favorite books of 2020 from indie publishers; Candacy Taylor discusses Green Books

    At the New York Review of Books, Salamishah Tillet interviews painter Jordan Casteel about her large-scale oil portraits and the importance of scale in her work: “I was thinking about the way that Black male bodies have existed in the visual and historical realms in the Americas, and how they’ve been villainized, made to feel small, disrespected. I just wanted to give them as much room as possible.”

    Scott Donaldson, biographer of Ernest Hemingway, John Cheever, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, has died at the age of ninety-two. He also wrote a book on the difficulty of writing biographies, which

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  • Barry Lopez. Photo: David Liittschwager
    December 29, 2020

    Remembering Barry Lopez; Great books you may have missed

    Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist working in China, has been sentenced to four years in prison for COVID reporting that challenged the government and contradicted the official account of the outbreak in Wuhan.

    At the New Republic, Alexander Chee reviews two novels that imagine a post-internet future: Don Delillo’s The Silence and Jonathan Lethem’s The Arrest. Chee writes, “Both feel like revenge fantasies on social media and electronic connectedness. They arrive not so much as oracles as scolds. They may not offer a guide to the future, but to the present.”

    The Intercept reports on how the

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  • Kiese Laymon. Simon & Schuster
    December 28, 2020

    Barry Lopez, 1945–2020; Kiese Laymon and Andre D. Wagner reflect on Black boyhood

    The Committee to Protect Journalists has issued a demand that Cuban authorities stop harassing reporter Carlos Manuel Álvarez, who is the director of the Cuban online literary journalism magazine El Estornudo, a contributor to El País, and the author of the novel The Fallen, which was released in English translation by Graywolf in June. Over the past month, Álvarez has been detained, held under house arrest, and assaulted by security agents, all in retribution for his support of the San Isidro movement in Cuba.

    Writer Barry Lopez has died. His books include the National Book Award–winner Arctic

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  • Marty Baron
    December 23, 2020

    Marty Baron to retire; the "Kansas City Star" owns up to its past

    At Vanity Fair, a report on Marty Baron’s impending retirement. Baron has been editor of the Washington Post since 2012. Sources at the paper expect him to step down in the coming year, but not before staffers return to the office.

    The Kansas City Star has published a lengthy apology for the paper’s history, writing that the publication has “disenfranchised, ignored and scorned generations of Black Kansas Citians.” Conversations within the newsroom led the paper to take a hard look at the ways in which the Black community has been covered in the paper, dating back to 1880. The paper has just

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  • Roxane Gay
    December 22, 2020

    The biggest literary stories of the year; Roxane Gay’s book club

    The New York Times reports on an international scam that is tricking writers, editors, and agents into sending their unpublished manuscripts. So far, it is unclear what the scammers are doing with the drafts. Catherine Eccles, the owner of a literary talent agency in London, told the Times: “They know who our clients are, they know how we interact with our clients, where sub-agents fit in and where primary agents fit in. They’re very, very good.”

    The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is offering a Proust-themed gift card. Courses in early 2021 include an introduction to Frantz Fanon, a

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  • Wole Soyinka. Photo: Penguin Random House
    December 21, 2020

    Pantheon to publish new novel by Wole Soyinka; Cathy Park Hong on disinformation in immigrant communities

    Pantheon has announced that it will publish a new book by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, his first novel in forty-eight years. Set in an “imaginary Nigeria,” Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, which will be released on September 28, 2021, is “at once a savagely witty whodunit and a corrosively satirical examination of corruption, both personal and political.”

    In an opinion piece at the New York Times, poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong (author of, most recently, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning) writes about right-wing conspiracy theories that are reaching Asian

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  • Thulani Davis. Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison
    December 18, 2020

    Tobi Haslett offers an introduction to Thulani Davis; Lauren Kwei on being the subject of an invasive New York Post story

    Authors and critics, including Nadia Owusu, Sabrina Orah Mark, and Ayad Akhtar, share their year in reading at The Millions.

    Takashi Oka, former Tokyo bureau chief of the New York Times and representative in Washington of Japan’s Liberal Party, has died at the age of ninety-six.

    At the New York Review of Books, Batya Ungar-Sargon looks back at Benjamin Day’s New York Sun, the country’s first penny press, and popular journalism’s blue-collar origins: “More than promoting any particular ideology, the penny press made visible New Yorkers who weren’t people of means. Rather than shaping a particular

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  • Nikki Giovanni
    December 17, 2020

    A profile of Nikki Giovanni; Longform’s best articles of the year

    At the New York Times, a profile of Nikki Giovanni, the poet, children’s book author, and nonfiction writer with over thirty books to her credit. Looking back at her career, Giovanni says, “I thought 50 years ago that I could make a big difference in the world. What I know now is that I will not allow the world to make a big difference in me. That’s what’s incredibly important. I’m not going to let the fact that I live in a nation with a bunch of fools make a fool out of me.”

    At the New Republic, Ryu Spaeth looks at the lengthy editor’s note attached this week to Elif Batuman’s 2018 New Yorker

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