• Elizabeth Wurtzel. Photo: David Shankbone
    January 08, 2020

    Booker Prize judges announced; Remembering Elizabeth Wurtzel

    Stacey Abrams is writing a book. Our Time is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America will be published by Henry Holt in June. “The future of our democracy depends on correcting all that is wrong with our elections process, including the insidious practice of voter suppression,” Abrams said. “And we must remind voters of their power to be seen and to demand action not simply on election days but every day.”

    The judges for next year’s Booker Prize have been announced. Lee Child, Sameer Rahim, Lemn Sissay, Emily Wilson, and Margaret Busby will make up the judging panel for the 2020

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  • Anna Wiener. Photo: Russell Perkins
    January 07, 2020

    Jonathan Coe wins Costa Prize; Anna Wiener on her new book

    Jonathan Coe has won the Costa Prize for his novel, Middle England. “One of the jobs of a novelist is to present humanity, not heroes or villains,” said prize judge John Boyne. “I know Coe is an adamant remainer, but he was very, very good at analysing both sides – and in such a way that it was also a great story.”

    On Mitzi Rapkin’s First Draft podcast, Jeannie Vanasco discusses her new book, Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl.

    To celebrate the publisher’s fiftieth anniversary, Feminist Press employees share their favorite titles from the past five decades. Selections include works

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  • Merve Emre
    January 06, 2020

    Merve Emre and others discuss their Ferrante Letters; Boris Kachka named books editor at the LA Times

    Boris Kachka, a longtime writer and editor at New York magazine, has been named the new books editor at the Los Angeles Times.

    Chloe Cooper Jones’s forthcoming memoir, Easy Beauty, was recently purchased by Avid Reader Press in the US, and how has been bought in a pre-emptive bid by Virago Press in the UK. The book, which will be released in 2021, is in part about disability rights, parenthood, and the author’s own experiences with a congenital condition known as sacral agenesis. Says Lauren Wein, editorial director at Avid Reader: “There are so many points of access to this book and to

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  • R. O. Kwon. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti
    January 03, 2020

    Hamilton Nolan on the past decade in media; R. O. Kwon's 2020 reading list

    For Electric Literature, R. O. Kwon lists fifty-six books by women and nonbinary writers of color that she’s looking forward to in 2020. Selections include Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings, Leslie Streeter’s Black Widow, and Samantha Irby’s Wow, No Thank You.

    On the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast, Whitney Terrell and V. V. Ganeshananthan talk to T. C. Boyle about LSD, hippies, and his most recent novel, Outside Looking In. “The beauty of literature is, the reader supplies the images,” he said of his work. “You give the reader a guide and each person sees it in a different way.”

    At NiemanLab,

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  • Elif Shafak. Photo: Zeynel Abidin
    January 02, 2020

    Elif Shafak on anger; Authors reflect on Little Women

    At the New York Times, Jesse Green looks at how theater is portrayed in movies, books, and television.

    At The Guardian, Elif Shafak reflects on anger, righteousness, and what is needed to create lasting change. “When progressive-minded people say we must make anger our primary motivation, I flinch a little,” she writes. “While the beginning of anger might feel wonderful, the rest of it is, in fact, quite toxic, repetitive, shallow and backward.”

    The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan wonders why Ivanka Trump, a White House senior advisor, is still being treated solely like the president’s daughter and

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  • Sonny Mehta. Photo: Leslie Jean-Bart
    December 31, 2019

    Knopf Editor in Chief Sonny Mehta Dies at 77

    Sonny Mehta, the editor in chief of Knopf and chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, died yesterday. A publishing legend, Mehta worked with a number of authors who went on to win the Nobel Prize: Kazuo Ishiguro, Alice Munro, Orhan Pamuk, Imre Kertész, V. S. Naipaul, and Toni Morrison. Other authors he worked with include: Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, John Banville, Julian Barnes, Anne Carson, Ted Chiang, Michael Crichton, Edwidge Danticat, Katherine Dunn, James Ellroy, Nathan Englander, Richard Flanagan, Yaa Gyasi, Carl Hiaasen, P. D. James, Jhumpa Lahiri,

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  • Rupi Kaur. Photo: Baljit Singh
    December 30, 2019

    Poet Rupi Kaur Writes for the Readers of the Future

    At the New Republic, Rumaan Alam declares Rupi Kaur, author of Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers, the “writer of the decade.” Kaur’s writing is “not itself to my taste,” writes Alam. Nonetheless, “Kaur’s achievement as an artist is the extent to which her work embodies, formally, the technology that defines contemporary life: smartphones and the internet.”

    Random House’s One World imprint has purchased Wes Moore’s Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City, a report on the protests that seized Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody in

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  • Elif Shafak. Photo: Zeynel Abidin
    December 27, 2019

    Elif Shafak on reading to understand Turkey; Why the e-book revolution never happened

    10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World author Elif Shafak talks to the New York Times’s “By the Book” column about surveillance capitalism, books she wishes had never been written, and what to read to understand modern-day Turkey. “Read women writers, women journalists, women poets, women academics,” she said. “Turkey is a country of collective amnesia. Read those writers who bear witness to the silences and to the silenced.”

    The Guardian looks at books that defined the last decade, including Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and Sally Rooney’s Normal People.


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  • December 26, 2019

    Booksellers recap their favorite 2019 titles; Karl E. Meyer has died at ninety-one

    Elle profiles the New York Times’s investigative editor Rebecca Corbett. Corbett oversaw the paper’s reports on the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey consider Corbett to be a crucial third member of their team, calling her their “true north.” The Elle story makes Corbett’s dedication clear: She usually begins editing after a full day of meetings and sometimes works through the night. Before joining the Times in 2004, Corbett was an editor for more than twenty years at the Baltimore Sun, where she supervised two Pulitzer Prize–winning projects

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  • Kiley Reid
    December 24, 2019

    NiemanLab's predictions for journalism in 2020; The Times's most anticipated books

    The New York Times looks back at the artists who died in 2019—including Toni Morrison, Harold Bloom, and Mary Oliver. The Times Book Review looks forward to the most anticipated works of 2020, including Garth Greenwell’s Cleanness, Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age, and a new collection of unpublished stories by Zora Neale Hurston.

    The Guardian explains the etiquette of giving books as gifts.

    At NiemanLab, journalists offer their predictions for the journalism industry in the coming year. Julia Chan writes that newsrooms need to allow reporters to take breaks, especially for those reporting on the

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  • Parul Sehgal. Photo: David Surowiecki
    December 23, 2019

    The Most Scathing Book Reviews of the Year

    Journalist and novelist Ward Just has died. After covering conflict in the Dominican Republic for Time and the Vietnam War for the Washington Post, Just went on to write numerous works of nonfiction and fiction, including To What End? Report From Vietnam (1968), Echo House (1997), and An Unfinished Season (2005), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

    “The memoir oozes bitterness from the still weeping wounds of a man who feels betrayed,” Andrew Rawnsley writes of David Cameron’s For the Record. “This is a dull, needy book,” Parul Sehgal says of Kristen Roupenian’s You Know You Want

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  • Jenny Zhang
    December 20, 2019

    Susan Orlean on California fires; How authors find community in writing groups

    The Dutch House author and book store co-owner Ann Patchett offers an assessment of the 2019 holiday shopping season and speculates on the best upcoming titles of 2020.

    The New York Times’s Concepción de León looks at writing groups started by authors like Jenny Zhang, Tony Tulathimutte, and Alice Sola Kim, among others. Zhang’s group “grew out of a need for a more supportive space than the ones she was encountering in creative-writing classes,” de León writes. “There would be, like, racist stories being put up and praised in workshops,” Zhang remembered. “I didn’t have adults or published

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