Legendary editor Starling Lawrence talks about his novel The Thief of Words, his Peace Corps experience, and the works that inspired him with his colleague editor Jilly Bialosky.
Starling Lawrence’s new novel, The Thief of Words, is fiercely intelligent and intimate, written with elegance, urgency, and an incredible command of language. Owen, a writer, is trying to uncover the mystery of his doomed love’s past in Sierra Leone as he grieves for his dying wife. Moving backward in time, we learn about Nora Fenton, an American innocent whose life is shattered by the complexities of race, religion and the hidden politics of the diamond trade.
The Amazon founder and new Washington Post owner sends his employee ominous questions marks, rants about ‘stupid pills’ in office emails, and has a unicyclist father, according to a new book.
For his upcoming book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, Bloomberg Businessweek writer Brad Stone was refused an interview with his subject, the Amazon founder and now Washington Post owner—but he still managed to cobble together an exhaustive history of the online marketplace by talking with "hundreds of current and former friends" of the enigmatic leader. From tracking down Bezos's birth father to spilling the businessman’s best insults, here are the most revealing bits from an excerpt released on Thursday.
From Watergate to Princess Diana’s crash to mobsters, investigator Terry Lenzner has been involved in all kinds of conspiracy, but the real message of his new memoir: we’ve lost any interest in the real truth. By Jake Whitney
In the fall of 1998, Terry Lenzner’s investigative firm, IGI, was hired to look into the death of Princess Diana. The client was Mohammad al-Fayed, the father of Dodi Fayed, Diana’s lover who also perished in the car crash in Paris. Fayed was convinced that the crash was no accident, that it was a plot by the British government to prevent Diana from marrying his son. There were legitimate questions about the crash, Lenzner believed, so he agreed to take the case.
When Somali pirates forced Richard Phillips to give up his crew, he had to stall by any means—or face the death of all his men. A tense scene from the memoir of the real ‘Captain Phillips.’
The film Captain Phillips, out in theaters today, dramatizes the story of a real-life pirate attack that gripped the world in April 2009, when Somali gunmen boarded the Maersk Alabama and took its captain, Richard Phillips (played by Tom Hanks), hostage, demanding money. The movie is based on Phillips’s 2010 book A Captain’s Duty, co-written with Stephan Talty. In this excerpt of the first-person account, the pirates have just boarded the Maersk Alabama, and found only Phillips and two crewmembers (Colin and ATM) on deck.
Wole Soyinka, winner of the 1986 Nobel for literature and the 'conscience of Africa,' says he would award this year's Peace Prize to activisits like Malala Yousafzai.
With his white beard and his white hair that rises like a mushroom cloud above his brain, Wole Soyinka is an imposing presence even before he speaks. And the 78-year-old Nigerian activist and novelist, who won the Nobel for literature in 1986, speaks with the authority of a man who’s lived history, and made it.When asked whom he’d like to see get the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow, he clearly hadn’t given the question much thought. But then he did.
Winner of this year’s Nobel prize for literature, Alice Munro is not merely Canada’s greatest living writer but one of the greatest living writers period. By Malcolm Jones
This morning, before writing about Alice Munro, who has won the Nobel prize for literature, I took down from the shelf a couple of volumes of her short stories, thinking to thumb through them and refresh my memory (or maybe I was just stalling, awed, or merely stymied, by the prospect of summing up a life’s work in a few paragraphs). Two hours later, I looked up, wondering where the time had gone. I suppose that when people talk about a writer casting a spell, this is what they mean.
And reported it to the feds.
We're not ready to put those years of lies and deception to bed just yet. A new book about Lance Armstrong, called Wheelman, alleges that the cycling star's former girlfriend, country singer Sheryl Crow, was privy to Armstrong's doping habits and told federal investigators after witnessing a banned blood transfusion. "He trusted that Crow would have no desire to tell the press or anyone else about the team's doping program," Wall Street Journal reporters Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell write in the book, which comes out Tuesday. Crow and Armstrong broke up in 2006 after three years together.
The winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature is Canadian short story writer Alice Munro. Here is our 60-second guide to her work and life.
Alice Munro, the 82-year-old Canadian author, is one of the greatest short-story writers of our time. The Swedish Academy, which on Thursday morning awarded Munro the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature, simply said that she is a “master of the contemporary short story.” Her short tales are always finely tuned, filled with psychological realism, swerving on a moment of epiphany that makes her the heir to Chekhov—indeed she is often considered the Canadian Chekhov—and James Joyce’s The Dubliners.
The acclaimed Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood talks with Noah Charney about her writing routine, how she invented an electronic pen, and her stint as a hockey goalie.
NC: Describe your morning routine. MA: I’d be lucky to have a morning routine! But let’s pretend… I’d get up in the morning, have breakfast, have coffee, then go upstairs to the room where I write. I’d sit down and probably start transcribing from what I’d [hand]written the day before. NC: Is there anything distinctive or unusual about the room in which you write? MA: I’m not often in a set writing space. I don’t think there’s anything too unusual about it, except that it’s full of books and has two desks.
Tells Canadian press the news is "quite wonderful."
The Swedish Academy announced Thursday that Alice Munro, the Canadian author known for her short stories about life in southwestern Ontario, is the 2013 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The 82-year-old author told Canadian press that she was delighted at the news, but also "terribly suprised." "I never thought I would win. At this moment, I can't believe it," she said. "But it's quite wonderful." Munro has published 13 short-story collections, including her debut, Dance of the Happy Shades (1968), which won her first Governor award, and The Progress of Love, which won the award exactly three decades later. Her final story collection, she said, was 2012's Dear Life, and she announced in June that she had retired from writing.
Why do intellectuals hate democracy? Was Borges a fascist? The contentious 2010 Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa talks to Michael Moynihan about the big questions in literature and politics.
Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian novelist and winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, is considered a political novelist because his politics aren’t the politics of most novelists. In the pantheon of modern Spanish-language fiction you’ll find a surplus of writers informed by radical thought—think Jose Saramago, Roberto Bolaño, Eduardo Galeano, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But Vargas Llosa is an outlier, an apostate from radicalism turned habitué of the classical liberal world, a former supporter of the Cuban Revolution transformed into an evangelist for free markets and free trade.
Eleven years after she was kidnapped and held for nine months, Elizabeth Smart is out with a new memoir. From the words her abductor spoke as he seized her to his wife’s sanction of rape, speed-read ‘My Story.’
In 2002, Elizabeth Smart, a 14-year-old girl from a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, was abducted, raped, and chained for nine months by religious zealot Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wand Barzee. In a new memoir, My Story, Smart has told her own account of her ordeal, writing that she tried several times to flee and was once almost rescued by a homicide detective. We speed-read the book for the nine biggest revelations.1. The Moment Mitchell Decided Smart ‘Was the One’The first time Brian David Mitchell saw Elizabeth Smart was in November 2001.
Wrote for The New Republic since 1958.
American cinema will never be the same. Legendary film critic Stanley Kauffmann died Wednesday at the age of 97. The cause was pneumonia. The critic who defined a generation, Kauffmann came to The New Republic in 1958, after brief stints at Time and Newsweek. Kauffmann stayed with the magazine for 55 years, becoming the most constant voice in the golden age of film criticism. He was also known for his belief in cultural renaissance. “He fathered the term ‘the film generation’ to describe the rising young wave of cinephiles,” writes James Wolcott in a tribute. There will be no funeral, but rather a memorial service at The New Republic.
What happens when Americans return from war? David Finkel’s book answers that question with disturbing and painful detail. Veteran Matt Gallagher reflects.
According to a report (PDF) released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this year, an estimated 22 veterans committed suicide in America each day in 2010. U.S. Army soldier suicides outnumbered combat-related deaths in 2012. And 30 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America survey respondents have considered taking their own life.Those are the numbers, and numbers have a way of numbing us to the complexities that make up everyday life.
There have been numerous novels inspired by Jane Austen’s 'Pride and Prejudice,' but Jo Baker’s depiction of what happens below stairs with the servants is the most intriguing yet. Lauren Elkin on a smart fan fiction.
Since its publication in 1813, and most especially in the past few decades, Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice has inspired numerous adaptations, faithful and eccentric: a number of film and television treatments, a couple of musicals, and by my count 171 novels ranging from 2009’s breakout hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to lesser-known titles like Pride and Platypus, Fitzwilliam Darcy: Rock Star, and Pride and Prejudice: the Jewess and the Gentile.
Will it finally be Haruki Murakami’s year? What about Svetlana Alexievich and Assia Djebar? If you’re wondering, ‘Who?’ we’ve got you covered with a primer on the top 10 likeliest Nobel Prize in Literature winners ahead of Thursday’s announcement. Plus, a gallery of the biggest Nobel snubs in history.
The sports betting site Ladbrokes opened its book on the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005 and since then has had a remarkable 50 percent accuracy rate. It correctly predicted the winner in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011. This year, the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami once again has the shortest odds, but you might be unfamiliar with some of the other favorites. Here’s a primer on the 10 likeliest winners so you can study up before the prize is announced.
The 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature is expected to be announced Thursday, and readers are eagerly gearing up for it. But the award is never given posthumously, which creates a dilemma for members of the Swedish Academy: they face the constant risk of failing to honor the best authors of their time. From Joyce to Tolstoy to Woolf, here are some of the giants of literature who passed away before they could be made a laureate. Plus, a gallery of the all the winners since 2000.
John Freeman, the former editor of Granta and author of the new book ‘How to Read a Novelist,’ knows his literary reviews—he has written for almost 200 publications around the world. He picks his favorite books of criticism, from Updike to Edwidge Danticat.
Hugging the Shore by John Updike. For 20 months, between marriages, John Updike lived alone in Boston, “my foam-rubber reading chair three paces from my dining table and two paces from my bed.” Hugging the Shore, Updike’s fourth collection of assorted prose, grew out of this period, and shows what marvelous things can be done with readerly solitude. Filled with travel pieces on Venezuela, essays on going barefoot, and reviews of an astonishing array of writers, from Ngugi wa Thiong’o to Buchi Emecheta to V.
Study says it improves empathy.
Your high school English teacher was right. A study by psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano of the New School for Social Research claims that reading literary fiction augments our ability to detect and understand emotions. Kidd and Castano randomly assigned 1,000 participants some texts to read, either portions of popular fiction such as Danielle Steel or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, or more literary texts, such as Téa Obreht’s The Tiger's Wife, Don DeLillo, or Anton Chekhov. They then used a series of tests to measure empathy—in other words, how accurately they could identify emotions in others. Scores were consistently higher for those who read literary fiction. The scientists were careful not to entirely dismiss the more popular authors, saying, “There are likely benefits of reading popular fiction—certainly entertainment. We just did not measure them.”
As Anastasia’s mother.
So there will also be plot in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Actress Jennifer Ehle has been cast in the Fifty Shades film adaptation as Anastasia Steele’s mother, her rep confirmed Monday. Wait, there are parts of Fifty Shades that aren’t straight-up S&M? Who knew? She joins Dakota Johnson, who plays the heroine, and Charlie Human, who plays 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey.
Report: Cohen to Write Ephron Bio
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Author Barbara Park Dies
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