• 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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  • Jenny Offill. Photo: Gwint
    February 06, 2020

    Spotify buys The Ringer; Parul Sehgal profiles Jenny Offill

    For the New York Times Magazine, Parul Sehgal profiles Jenny Offill, whose new novel Weather is out next week. “Offill doesn’t write about the climate crisis but from deep within it. She does not paint pictures of apocalyptic scenarios; she charts internal cartographies. We observe her characters’ lurching shame, despair, boredom and fatigue — solastalgia experienced in ordinary life, vying with the demands of aging parents, small children, the churn of the mind,” Sehgal writes. “What she is doing, her friend the novelist Adam Ross told me, is coming as close as anyone ever has to writing the

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  • Miranda Popkey. Photo: Elena Seibert
    February 05, 2020

    Emily Books stops publishing; Miranda Popkey on truth in fiction

    Emily Gould and Ruth Curry are shutting down their publishing imprint, Emily Books. “When we launched the first Emily Books website, in 2011, all we knew was that we wanted to make a certain kind of book more widely available. . . . We wanted to celebrate narratives that took place outside of convention, outside of heterosexuality, outside of a world that men controlled,” they wrote in their announcement. “While we’re thrilled that the voices and stories we’ve been championing for years have lately become more ‘marketable,’ it’s made it harder for us to compete with publishers whose resources

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  • Edwidge Danticat. Photo: Lynn Savarese
    February 04, 2020

    Scarlett Thomas on dark humor; Edwidge Danticat wins Vilcek Prize

    Literary critic, professor, and novelist George Steiner has died at the age of 90. Steiner wrote over twenty books and was the New Yorker’s senior book reviewer for three decades. “Admirers of Mr. Steiner found his erudition and his arguments brilliant,” the New York Times writes.

    Edwidge Danticat has won the 2020 Vilcek Prize for Excellence in Literature. Danticat will receive the award at a ceremony in New York this spring.

    Melissa Harris-Perry is joining Zora Magazine as editor at large.

    Washington Post employees say that the recent suspension of reporter Felicia Sonmez is evidence of

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  • Mary Higgins Clark. Photo © Bernard Vidal
    February 03, 2020

    Mary Higgins Clark, 1927-2020

    Best-selling suspense novelist Mary Higgins Clark died on Friday. She wrote more than fifty novels, and has sold more than one hundred million books.

    A cybersquatter has hijacked the website of novelist Patrick DeWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers and French Exit. The squatter will give the domain back to its rightful owner on one condition: DeWitt must read the squatter’s unpublished novel, In God’s Silence, Them Devils Sang.

    The Mellon Foundation has given a $4.5 million grant to the Academy of American Poets.

    HBO has released the first trailer for David Simon’s TV adaptation of Philip

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  • Wendy C. Ortiz. Photo: Meiko Takechi Arquillos
    January 31, 2020

    Wendy C. Ortiz on publishing gatekeepers; Mellon Foundation gives $4.5 million to Academy of American Poets

    The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has given a grant of $4.5 million to the Academy of American Poets. The money will be used “to fund its poet laureate program for the next three years,” according to the New York Times. “I have so much faith in the leadership of the Academy of American Poets, in the whole concept of the poets laureate project, and in what I think is poetry’s underrecognized ability to communicate with outsized power,” Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander said. “One thing I can promise you . . . is that there will be at least some poems made in the next few years, under

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  • Tishani Doshi. Photo: Carlo Pizzati
    January 30, 2020

    Dozens of authors ask Oprah to reconsider including American Dirt in her book club; Tishani Doshi on universal stories

    The New York Times Book Review looks at the most anticipated books to be published in February. Highlights include Emily Nemens’s The Cactus League, Gish Jen’s The Resisters, and Jenny Offill’s Weather.

    At Literary Hub, eighty-two writers have signed an open letter asking Oprah Winfrey to remove Jeanine Cummins’s American Dirt from her book club. “Writing fiction is essentially impossible to do without imagining people who are not ourselves. However, when writing about experiences that are not our own, especially when writing about the experiences of marginalized people, still more especially

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  • Bryan Washington. Photo: David Gracia
    January 29, 2020

    PEN America Literary Awards finalists announced; Ben Smith leaves BuzzFeed

    The finalists for the 2020 PEN America Literary Awards were announced yesterday. Nominees across all nine categories include Anne Boyer’s The Undying, Ben Moser’s Sontag, Bryan Washington’s Lot, Jamil Jan Kochai’s 99 Nights in Logar, and Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror, among many others. A full list of finalists can be found here. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in March.

    Jack Fairweather has won this year’s Costa Book of the Year prize for his biography of Polish resistance fighter Witold Pilecki.

    BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith is leaving the website to take over Jim

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  • Margaret Atwood. Photo: Jean Malek
    January 28, 2020

    Margaret Atwood announces poetry collection; Jim Rutenberg on how the media landscape has changed since 2016

    Margaret Atwood is writing a new poetry collection. According to a statement by the publisher, the poems in Dearly will explore “bodies and minds in transition, as well as the everyday objects and rituals that embed us in the present.” The collection will be published by Ecco in November.

    Former Texas Tribune editor Emily Ramshaw and Tribune chief audience officer Amanda Zamora are starting a women-focused nonprofit news organization. The 19th, named after the amendment that granted white women the right to vote, is backed by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark among other donors. “This isn’t

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