• Thulani Davis. Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison
    March 15, 2021

    Daphne A. Brooks on women who write liner notes; A John Ashbery playlist

    Daphne A. Brooks, the author of Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound, looks at the Grammy award for best liner notes, and at the three women who have won since its inception in 1964: playwright, essayist, and poet Thulani Davis, who won in 1993 for her essay accompanying Aretha Franklin’s Queen of Soul—the Atlantic Recordings; Lynell George (A Handful of Earth, a Handful of Sky) who won in 2018 for her liner notes to Live at the Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings, Performed by Otis Redding; and Joni Mitchell, who provided the essay accompanying her

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  • Leslie Jamison. Photo: Beowulf Sheehan
    March 12, 2021

    The Gimlet Union has reached a deal with Gimlet Media; Leslie Jamison on pandemic-induced nostalgia

    After bargaining for almost two years, the Gimlet Union has reached a deal with Gimlet Media.

    “Nostalgia is a sneaky curator,” writes Leslie Jamison at the New York Times, in an essay about the fantasy of “the Before Times.” For Jamison, Svetlana Boym’s distinction between reflective and restorative nostalgia is useful: “While restorative nostalgia wants to recreate an idealized past, reflective nostalgia interrogates the very image it longs for. Restorative nostalgia is drawn to monuments; reflective nostalgia to ruins.” Jamison’s essay is part of a series, “The Week Our Reality Broke,” about

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  • Torrey Peters. Photo: Natasha Gornik
    March 11, 2021

    Torrey Peters becomes first trans woman to be nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction

    The longlist for the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced. The shortlist will be revealed on April 28 and the winner on July 7. On Twitter, Torrey Peters, the first trans woman to be nominated, wrote: “I’m very honored to have DETRANSITION, BABY long-listed for the Women’s Prize. I was eligible this year due to work by those before me—especially Akwaeke Emezi. Once again, I am indebted to a sacrifice made by a black trans person. Congratulations to my fellow longlisters.” In 2019, Emezi had been nominated for the prize but asked that their future novels not be considered after

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  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    March 10, 2021

    Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth, has died; Mass layoffs at HuffPost

    Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth, died on Monday at the age of ninety-one. “His singular quality was being mischievous,” said Jules Feiffer, the cartoonist who drew the illustrations for Tollbooth. “He saw humor as turning everything on its head.”

    After merging with BuzzFeed in mid-February, 47 of HuffPost’s 190 employees have been laid off, in addition to the entire staff of HuffPost Canada. According to writer Laura Bassett, employees “were invited to a meeting...with the password ‘spring is here,’” and told that many of them would be let go. Staff were subsequently informed

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  • Jessica Winter. Photo: Adrian Kinloch
    March 09, 2021

    Women reporters of the Vietnam War; Jessica Winter’s new novel

    At The Atlantic, George Packer reviews a new book about women reporters in Vietnam. Elizabeth Becker’s You Don’t Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War covers the work of reporters Frances FitzGerald and Kate Webb, and photographer Catherine Leroy. Packer writes of FitzGerald, a twenty-something Radcliffe graduate and daughter of a CIA official: “Sheltered all her life, she was profoundly shocked by the suffering of the Vietnamese—not just the death, injury, and displacement, but the loss of identity under the crushing weight of the Americans.”

    In the new issue of Columbia

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  • Cathy Park Hong
    March 08, 2021

    New inductees to the American Academy of Arts and Letters; Cathy Park Hong in conversation with Charles Yu

    In an effort to make its membership more diverse, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, once made up almost entirely of Christian white men, is increasing the number of inductees for the first time since 1908. “We’re expanding the membership so that it is more clearly representative of this country,” says the academy’s president, architect Billie Tsien. “Also, it’s a matter of numbers. When the academy was first established, the population was much smaller. Now there are more people, and more kinds of people.” New writers who have been inducted this year include US poet laureate Joy Harjo,

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  • Emily Nemens. Photo: James Emmerman
    March 05, 2021

    Emily Nemens steps down from the Paris Review; TV adaptation of Torrey Peters’s novel Detransition, Baby

    Emily Nemens has resigned from her position as editor of the Paris Review to work on her second novel. In a note published on the magazine’s website, Nemens writes: “Hopefully, eventually, I’ll edit again—connecting writers to readers is among the world’s best professions.”

    Jewish Currents is launching an investigative fund with the Puffin Foundation. Journalists published by the fund will earn at least one dollar per word, and receive fact-checking and legal support. Jewish Currents is seeking pitches for stories that will attempt to “hold those in power accountable by investigating important

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  • Joy Williams. Photo: Penguin Random House
    March 04, 2021

    A new Joy Williams novel is coming this fall; David Brooks’s financial ties to Facebook

    David Brooks is leading an Aspen Institute project called Weave, a movement dedicated to “repairing our country’s social fabric, which is badly frayed by distrust, division and exclusion.” Weave is funded by Facebook and other large donors, but while Brooks has promoted the project in his columns for the New York Times and written about the social media giant, he has not disclosed his financial ties to them. When BuzzFeed News asked a Times spokesperson if they were aware of Brooks’s second salary, they declined to comment.

    Joy Williams is publishing her first novel in twenty years this fall.

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  • Hanif Abdurraqib. Photo: Megan Leigh Barnard
    March 03, 2021

    Yuka Igarashi to join Graywolf Press; Hanif Abdurraqib and Devonté Hynes in conversation

    Yuka Igarashi, the editor in chief of Soft Skull Press and founder of Catapult magazine, will join Graywolf as an executive editor in April. “We needed a fresh vision to shake us up a bit, and to help guide our talented rising editors,” said Graywolf publisher Fiona McCrae in a statement on the hire.

    At Hyperallergic, Cyndii Wilde Harris selects a few highlights—including interviews with Mamie Till Mobley and Angela Davis—from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, which collects and preserves materials with the Library of Congress and GBH Boston.

    In the premier episode of a new video

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  • Terry Castle
    March 02, 2021

    Terry Castle on Patricia Highsmith; New books by Hanif Abdurraqib

    For the London Review of Books, Terry Castle writes about a new “unsavory” biography of Patricia Highsmith, which Castle tried to finish during the January 6 mob assault on the US capitol: “The same ugly question kept intruding: would house-wrecker Highsmith – everyone’s favourite mess-with-your-head morbid misanthrope – have relished the day’s cascading idiocy?” For more Castle on Highsmith, see Bookforum’s Summer 2016 issue, in which Castle wrote about Todd Haynes’s Carol, based on Highsmith’s 1952 lesbian-romance-thriller, The Price of Salt: “It’s a commonplace that this [novel] is ‘different’

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  • Parul Sehgal. Photo: Beowulf Sheehan
    March 01, 2021

    Parul Sehgal reviews the New York Times Book Review

    Astra publishing house is launching a new literary magazine. Astra Quarterly will “have a strong international focus” and an “international network of editors.” Nadja Spiegelman, former online editor of the Paris Review and author of the memoir I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This, will be the editor in chief. According to Spiegelman: “I am delighted to join the Astra team in its deep desire to uphold voices across borders. The new generation of readers—from New York to Lagos, Paris to Shanghai, Mexico City to Berlin—has more in common than ever before. We hope to show audiences that

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  • Christine Smallwood. Photo: New York Institute for the Humanities
    February 26, 2021

    Jia Tolentino reviews Christine Smallwood’s debut novel; Lovia Gyarkye on bookstores and curation

    A new study surveying journalists from Virginia, Missouri, Arizona, and Texas alongside published coverage of anti-racism protests in those states between 2018 and 2019 shows gaps “between how journalists thought they covered protests, and actual published protest coverage.” Summer Harlow, one of the researchers behind the study, breaks down how mainstream news can delegitimize social movements.

    For Columbia Journalism Review, Akintunde Ahmad interviews Michael Tubbs, the former mayor of Stockton, California, about governing in a news desert. Tubbs was the target of a disinformation campaign

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