• Clint Smith
    February 09, 2021

    Clint Smith on slave narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project; Remembering Maxine Cheshire

    In The Atlantic, Clint Smith has an in-depth essay on the descendants of people who were interviewed for the Federal Writers’ Project slave narratives, which documented the stories of more than two thousand former slaves in the late 1930s. Smith writes, “The descendants of those who were interviewed for the Federal Writers’ Project have been given something that has been denied to so many Black Americans: the opportunity to read the words, and possibly see the faces, of people they thought had been lost to history.”

    At The Nation, Micah Uetricht looks at the long arc of social critic and

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  • Chang-rae Lee. Photo: Annika Lee
    February 08, 2021

    Chang-rae Lee to discuss his work tonight

    The publication date for Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb, was originally April 27, but Penguin Random House has announced that it now plans to release the book on March 16. The edition will come with an introduction by Oprah Winfrey.

    At the Letters page at the New York Review of Books, Rumaan Alam writes that while he is “delighted” by the publication’s decision to cover his latest novel, Leave the World Behind, he is “troubled by the methods” used by the reviewer, Ruth Franklin. “I can’t see what’s gained, in a review, by noting the name of my husband, except that it clarifies

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  • Erica Hunt. Photo: Nightboat Books
    February 05, 2021

    Ben Lerner on Erica Hunt’s innovative poems; Sarah Jaffe discusses her new book on the Art and Labor podcast

    Gallery Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint, has announced that it will publish Hunter Biden’s memoir, Beautiful Things, in April. The book was written with Drew Jubera, and according to the publisher, as Alexandra Alter reports, “will be more of a personal narrative about addiction and recovery than a political memoir.”

    At Columbia Journalism Review, Jon Allsop recounts how Indian authorities have cracked down on social media and individual members of the media amid the farmers’ protests. Last Tuesday, Navreet Singh, a twenty-five-year-old farmer, was killed during a protest. The official line

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  • Christopher Bonanos
    February 04, 2021

    Vinson Cunningham’s debut novel; Christopher Bonanos on New York City

    After seeing digital revenue surpass print revenue last year, the New York Times exceeded 7.5 million print and digital subscriptions in 2020, even as ad revenue declined.

    New Yorker staff writer Vinson Cunningham has announced that his debut novel, The Party Year, has been sold to Hogarth. Cunningham is also working on a book about R&B.

    Freelance writer Dean Sterling Jones has accused The Atlantic of using his work without giving him credit or payment. Jones was cited as a source for an article about Maria Butina’s legal bills, but Jones is claiming that the magazine used some of the exact

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  • Dan-el Padilla Peralta. Photo: Princeton University
    February 03, 2021

    Dan-el Padilla Peralta on a new era for classics; Brandon Hobson discusses his novel The Removed

    Joshua Benton selects notable clips from the archives of Editor & Publisher, the self-described “bible of the newspaper industry.” The Internet Archive has digitized nearly every back issue in their catalog, starting from 1901.

    At The Believer, Ahmed Naji chronicles his time reading and writing in an Egyptian prison, where he was sentenced to two years over obscenity charges against his novel Using Life. Naji’s fellow prisoners taught him to “rethink much of what I knew” about literature, and what readers want. One man, “a judge accused of taking a four-million-dollar bribe” told Naji that

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  • Myriam Gurba
    February 02, 2021

    Myriam Gurba on schools and David Brooks; Moira Donegan on republicans and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    Myriam Gurba responds to David Brooks’s recent op-ed against “teacher resistance” to opening schools, in which he invoked the spirit of Black Lives Matter, calling on readers to march in the streets in support of getting “Black and brown children back safely into schools right now.” Gurba, an author and educator whose parents were both teachers, points out that Brooks does not have similar expertise. Gurba writes, “Capitalism requires inequality, suffering and death and by re-warehousing Black and Brown students on shoddy campuses, places where COVID-19 is likely to spread, the acceptable cost

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  • Jose Antonio Vargas. Photo: Gerald Salva Cruz
    February 01, 2021

    Jose Antonio Vargas to publish new book with Pantheon

    At Publishers Weekly, Shelly Romero and Adriana M. Martínez Figueroa revisit James Ledbetter’s “The Unbearable Whiteness of Publishing,” a two-part feature that ran in the Village Voice in 1995. “Over the past quarter-century, book publishing has made some strides in diversifying its workforce and the authors it publishes, thanks in part to the efforts of many recently founded advocacy groups and movements, including We Need Diverse Books, People of Color in Publishing, and the #OwnVoices movement,” Romero and Martínez Figueroa write. And yet: “The parallels between publishing in 1995 and

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  • Mary Kay Wilmers. Photo: Jon Tonks.
    January 29, 2021

    Mary-Kay Wilmers is retiring as editor of the "London Review of Books"; Facebook is said to be starting a newsletter platform

    Under the unassuming headline “announcement,” the London Review of Books has revealed that its legendary editor, Mary-Kay Wilmers, is retiring after more than forty years. Deputy editor Jean McNicol and senior editor Alice Spawls will be taking over for Wilmers. The new editors said: “The LRB is the best paper in the world, thanks to Mary-Kay, and we intend to keep it that way. We’ve never wanted to work anywhere else, and indeed neither of us ever has.” For more on Wilmers’s career as a writer and editor, see Kaitlin Phillips's review of Wilmers’s collected essays in the Dec/Jan 2020 issue of

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  • Matthew Salesses
    January 28, 2021

    An update from the New Yorker Union; Matthew Salesses and Laura van den Berg on the craft of writing

    On Twitter, the New Yorker Union gives an update on their latest negotiations: “management came to the table empty-handed Wednesday, and, a couple of hours after we broke for a caucus, they told us they would not be providing any of the 20+ counterproposals we’re waiting on, aborting a bargaining session that was scheduled to last a full day.” The meeting came a week after the union enacted a twenty-four hour work stoppage.

    Lit Hub explains what you need to know about Literati, a book-club service that recently raised $40 million dollars in investment funding.

    The New York Times has named

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  • N. K. Jemisin. Photo: Laura Hanifin
    January 27, 2021

    N. K. Jemisin’s speculative fiction as sociology; Feminist scholar Christina Crosby has died

    Claire Foy will star in the film adaptation of The Pisces, Melissa Broder’s 2018 novel of one woman’s obsession with a merman. Broder wrote the script with director Gillian Robespierre.

    At The Nation, Stephen Kearse writes about N. K. Jemisin’s experience writing speculative fiction as a Black woman, her approach to the genre as sociological investigation, and her fascination with cities. Her latest novel, The City We Became, follows five characters who embody New York’s five boroughs: “Jemisin’s characters rally around the shared experience of their worlds expanding. Representing a borough

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  • Lauren Oyler. Photo: Pete Voelker.
    January 26, 2021

    Marty Baron retires; Lauren Oyler on her debut novel

    Marty Baron of the Washington Post has announced that he is retiring at the end of February. Baron had been the executive editor of the paper for the last eight years, a period in which the Post dramatically increased its staff and its digital subscription model became successful. Before joining the Post, Baron was at the Boston Globe, where he oversaw reporting on sexual abuse by priests in the city.

    The Cut profiles critic Lauren Oyler, whose debut novel, Fake Accounts, will be published next Tuesday. Known as a tough critic unafraid to write a takedown, Oyler professes to being serene about

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  • Hanif Abdurraqib. Photo: Andy Cenci
    January 25, 2021

    Hanif Abdurraqib talks about musicians who use masks; Bhanu Kapil awarded the T. S. Eliot Prize

    Authors Ken Chen and Craig Morgan Tiecher highlight their favorite books of poetry coming out in 2021.

    Marcela Valdes, a journalist who has held positions at Publishers Weekly and Washington Post Book World, has been hired as a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine. In a letter announcing the hire, editor Jake Silverstein writes: “Marcela has been an important contributor to the Magazine for many years, covering politics, culture, immigration and more. Her recent cover story on conservative efforts to win Latino votes in the 2020 election showed, yet again, what a rigorous, intelligent

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