• Megha Majumdar. Photo: Elena Seibert
    May 26, 2020

    Literary Hub’s summer book highlights; The struggle of reporting on COVID-19

    Literary Hub has posted its Summer Books Preview for 2020. Highlights include Masha Gessen’s Surviving Autocracy, Megha Majumdar’s A Burning, and Patrick Hoffman’s Clean Hands.

    At the Columbia Journalism Review, Lauren Harris reflects on the difficulty of reporting on COVID-19 and explains why journalists must work to contextualize expert information for readers. “It’s tempting for journalists to see themselves as outside observers. They are not. Reporters gather bits of information and cobble them together—superimposing narratives, culling expert voices, using semantic sleight-of-hand to show

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  • Emma Straub. Photo: Jennifer Bastian
    May 22, 2020

    Orwell Prize finalists announced; Emma Straub on not feeling guilt about reading

    “There are plenty of things to feel guilty about in life—yelling at your kid, not putting a shopping cart back in the parking lot, sleeping with your best friend’s spouse—why put that on reading? If I could absolve readers of one thing, it would be this—feeling guilt about books that they like, and books that they don’t,” Emma Straub tells Literary Hub. “Ditch the guilt! Embrace excitement, and glee, about all the books you still have to read for the very first time.”

    The New York Times Book Review rounds up the best of the summer’s upcoming books.

    The shortlists for the Orwell Prizes in

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  • Curtis Sittenfeld
    May 21, 2020

    Caine Prize nominees announced; Curtis Sittenfeld on who she wants to read Rodham

    The nominees for this year’s AKO Caine Prize for African Writing were announced yesterday. Nominees include Erica Sugo Anyadike, Irenosen Okojie, and Jowhor Ile. The winner will be announced this fall.

    Curtis Sittenfeld takes the Lit Hub Questionnaire. She says if she wasn’t a writer she would have wanted to become a doctor and hopes that female politicians like Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Kamala Harris will read her new novel, Rodham. “I’d love to know what they think I got right or wrong about women and politics.”

    “I’ve plunged into a world of online bookishness over the past

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  • Kiley Reid. Photo: David Goddard
    May 20, 2020

    New York Public Library announces Young Lions finalists; How reporting has changed during the coronavirus pandemic

    The New York Public Library has announced the finalists for the 2020 Young Lions Fiction Award. The nominees are Bryan Washington’s Lot, Xuan Juliana Wang’s Home Remedies, Steph Cha’s Your House Will Pay, Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age, and Julia Phillips’s Disappearing Earth.

    Sports writer Jeff Benedict is working on a new book about the New England Patriots. The Dynasty will be published by Avid Reader Press in September.

    The Association of American Publishers has released data on book sales during March. While overall sales fell by 8 percent, audiobook sales rose by 15 percent and sales by

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  • Maggie Doherty. Photo: Max Larkin
    May 19, 2020

    Maggie Doherty on the history of creative communities; Libération becomes nonprofit

    At Literary Hub, Maggie Doherty writes about the history of creative communities. “Writers and artists have often come together to create formal and informal communities. Some did so spontaneously; others worked through existing institutions; still others created institutions of their own,” she writes. “These creative communities mimicked the conditions of the MFA program and the artist colony: long stretches of alone time punctuated by intense, intimate gatherings.”

    The New York Times’s Alexandra Alter looks at the publishing industry’s “quickly assembled” books on coronavirus that will be

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  • Susan Bernofsky. Photo: Caroline White
    May 18, 2020

    Susan Bernofsky and Alexandra Kleeman receive the Berlin Prize; Ben Smith questions Ronan Farrow’s reporting

    The Authors Guild and the National Book Critics Circle have written an open letter to newspapers and other media companies, encouraging “those outlets to continue to make space for the vital conversation around books in their coverage.” “Strong literary arts coverage not only benefits authors, but nourishes the entire literary ecosystem, including freelance reviewers, publishers, bookstores, libraries, literary agencies, editors, designers and everyone who contributes in one way or another to the world of books.”

    Ben Smith, the New York Times’ media columnist, questions Pulitzer Prize–winning

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  • Bryan Washington. Photo: David Gracia
    May 15, 2020

    Bryan Washington wins the Dylan Thomas Prize; Atlantic executive editor Adrienne LaFrance on conspiracy theories

    This year’s Dylan Thomas Prize has been awarded to Bryan Washington’s short story collection, Lot.

    Nieman Lab’s Sarah Scire talks to Atlantic executive editor Adrienne LaFrance about conspiracy theories and her recent reporting about QAnon. “Often we encounter absurdities and the impulse can be to wave it away and say, ‘Okay, if we ignore that thing that seems harmful or ridiculous, eventually it’ll peter out.’ But that was also something that people said about birtherism and now Donald Trump is the president. Anyone who can agree that conspiracy theories are harmful for democratic society

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  • Sofia Coppola. Photo: Georges Biard
    May 14, 2020

    Sofia Coppola adapting Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country; Newspapers sue Small Business Administration

    Netflix is working with Italian production company Fandango to adapt Elena Ferrante’s latest novel, The Lying Life of Adults, into a streaming series. In other adaptation news, Apple TV+ and Sofia Coppola are working on a limited series based on Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country.

    Columbia Journalism Review’s MSNBC public editor Maria Bustillos questions the network’s choice to report on the use of remdesivir to treat COVID-19 without investigating the reasons behind its promotion. “It’s not unreasonable for Dr. Fauci and other scientific researchers to express optimism—to be what you

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  • Jenny Zhang
    May 13, 2020

    Remembering Carolyn Reidy; Jenny Zhang on commas

    Simon & Schuster publisher and CEO Carolyn Reidy died yesterday at the age of seventy-one. Reidy had been with the company for almost twenty years, and worked with writers from Hillary Clinton to Jennifer Weiner. “Carolyn was a literary giant, a leader who artfully navigated the upheavals of publishing to amplify a wide range of voices reflective of our lived world,” PEN America president Jennifer Egan remembered. “Carolyn believed in every story she touched, and ushered our works into the wider world with passion, care, and decades of expertise.”

    Haruki Murakami is hosting a radio show during

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  • Lydia Millet. Photo: J. Beall
    May 12, 2020

    Emily Ramshaw on starting The 19th; Lydia Millet on panic

    Nieman Lab’s Laura Hazard Owen talks to The 19th cofounder Emily Ramshaw about launching the news site in the middle of a pandemic and why political reporting is more important than ever. The nonprofit news site was announced in January and will still be launched this summer. “For us, the primary obsession this summer and into the fall will be the politics of the pandemic and what that means for women — deeply exploring the ways in which women are disproportionately affected by this moment, which may be a heck of a lot longer than a moment,” Ramshaw explained. “It became abundantly clear that

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  • Yiyun Li. Photo: Denise Applewhite
    May 11, 2020

    The PEN/Faulkner Awards; Historian Robert Caro closes in on the end of his LBJ opus

    Every morning, Robert Caro gets up early, works on the fifth and final volume of his massive Lyndon B. Johnson biography, and walks through Central Park. “He’s in a moment of crisis,” Caro says of the late-career LBJ that will be covered in this volume of the biography. “I’m trying to show in this section of this book what it’s like to be president of the United States when everything is going wrong.” The book is highly anticipated. “As great as his [Caro’s] earlier books have been, this is the culmination, the one many of us have been waiting for,” the journalist-historian David Maraniss told

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  • Garth Greenwell. Photo: Bill Adams
    May 08, 2020

    Ed Roberson wins Jackson Poetry Prize; Garth Greenwell on writing about sex

    The 2020 Jackson Poetry Prize has been awarded to Ed Roberson. “This is an extraordinary time to be awarding this significant prize in poetry, a momentous time in our recent history, a time of panic, fear, uncertainty and inner turmoil, and devastating tragedy where people are separated from one another, cannot even touch or bury loved ones, and yet are bound together inextricably by their vulnerability as humans,” the judges said in a press release. “Poetry such as Ed Roberson’s troubles these meditations, these issues, these apocalyptic queries in innovative expressive ways.”

    Over half of

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