Category Archives: News

Man Booker Prize Extends a Hand to U.S. Authors

Apologies to whatever readers I may have left; I’m very much in the weeds these days and the expectations of academia are doing their best to separate me from the fun and spontaneity that are necessary for blogging. But I’m fighting the good fight. For starters, there’s been interesting news in the literary competition world […]

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Reading Orwell in Taksim Square

Possibly the single most enduring image from my own political coming of age, in my late 20s, was Tiananmen Square’s Tank Man. To someone who had idly considered herself a dissenter once upon a time—largely due, in retrospect, to sartorial choices—he was a comeuppance, the real deal. So when Erdem Gündüz staged his own solitary […]

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That’s Not Funny

For a publication that’s been walking that fine line between good and bad taste for years, Vice Magazine managed to piss off a whole bunch of people at once with the photo spread in its recent Fiction Issue. Titled “Last Words,” it staged a series of models portraying female writers who had famously committed suicide—or, […]

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Ed Man Walking

Many of you are probably familiar with my complaint that Nothing Ever Happens In My Neighborhood. True, it’s one of the few remaining affordable places in New York where you’re only a few blocks from the subway; it’s safe, spacious, and relatively quiet; and you can get to most parts of Manhattan within an hour. […]

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A Satisfying Night for The Story Prize

Was it just me, or was this year’s Story Prize event an even better show than usual? Which is not to say that it ever isn’t good—Larry Dark and his finalists never fail to be interesting and lively. And, as I’m fond of pointing out, there are only three of them, which means even the […]

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On Beyond Chekhov: Introducing The Russian Library

When Russian writers come up in conversation, as they are wont to, you can always count on someone—or an entire chorus—admitting to huge gaps in their reading and confiding that they really need to address the situation. I know because I’m one of them. I fully intend to read War and Peace and Anna Karenina […]

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Tales of the Unread: NBCC and The Story Prize Finalists

Two of my favorite shortlists, the National Book Critics Circle and The Story Prize, were announced this week, and there are some really choice picks among them. Oh, I know, I say that every year. Maybe they just look extra good right now because I haven’t read many of the books in question. Even the […]

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Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White: Dalkey Archive Press and That Job Ad

If you work in publishing, or are looking for a job in publishing, you may have seen the help wanted ad posted by Dalkey Archive Press last week. The University of Illinois-based press is looking to expand its London office and move on from founder John O’Brien’s stewardship, with two or three people at the […]

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The Royal Library of the Netherlands’ Word Problem

When it comes to digitizing older and orphan works, most of the copyright controversies I see cropping up have more to do with intellectual property issues than actual conflict. Which is about what you’d expect—any real litigation is going to be hammered out in court rather than in the public debate arena. But what happens […]

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It Ain’t Oeuvre ’Til It’s Oeuvre: Elmore Leonard Wins National Book Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Last month I commended the PEN American Center for awarding its Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction to E.L. Doctorow. Often it seems like that kind of recognition celebrates an author’s longevity, but not necessarily a consistent body of work. It’s not that writers don’t deserve props for sticking it out and keeping […]

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