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Updated: 2 hours 42 min ago

Author Niall Ferguson leaves Stanford role after ordering 'opposition research' on a student in free speech row

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 05:00
Niall Ferguson, the prominent British historian, has left his role with a Stanford university free speech initiative after leaked emails showed him suggesting "opposition research" be carried out on a left-wing student.

Ferguson resigned from a leadership position on the Cardinal Conversations programme at at the institution in California, which invites guest speakers from across the political spectrum to give talks.

The academic said he had made an "error of judgment" but had been "deeply concerned" by the reaction on campus against a talk by Charles Murray, the controversial social scientist, who spoke on February 22.

Author Germaine Greer stirs furor with call for lighter rape penalty

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 05:00
The Australian author and academic Germaine Greer, one of the most contrarian voices on feminism, has stirred a furor by dismissing rape as "bad sex" and calling for a lower penalty for perpetrators of sexual assault.

Why are middle-aged women invisible on book covers?

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 17:04
Writing in The Guardian, Alison Flood asks why is it that, even when they're central to the story, women over 40 get pushed to one side when it's time to design the book jacket?

Polish author Olga Tokarczuk wins Man Booker International Prize

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 11:05
Polish author Olga Tokarczuk won the £50,000 (about $67,170) Man Booker International Prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world, for her novel of linked fragments, Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft. The cash award is divided equally between author and translator, who also both receive £1,000 for being shortlisted.

American novelist Philip Roth dies at 85

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 23:51
Philip Roth, whose novel American Pastoral won a Pulitzer in 1998 but who was best-known for the controversial and explicit 1969 Portnoy's Complaint, has died at age 85.

Maybe abusive authors don?t belong on my bookshelf. But what about in my classroom?

Sun, 05/20/2018 - 18:30
Writing in The Washington Post, author and professor Sandra Beasley asks, "Do we continue to teach the work of people we now suspect of behaving unethically or abusively? ... As a reader, I'm devastated. As a teacher, I've got decisions to make..."

Romantic Times and related websites shutting down

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 11:27
The romance-focused magazine Romantic Times, along with the RT Book Reviews, RT VIP Salon and RT Booklovers Convention brands, is shutting down after 37 years. The closure is effective immediately, and though the RT website will remain up for another year or so, there will be no new content in the future.

Philip Pullman and Gail Honeyman dominate British Book Awards

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 12:51
Philip Pullman has been named author of the year at the British Book Awards for his "outstanding" success.

The children's author was recognized after returning to the world of his Dark Materials with La Belle Sauvage last year. Awards organizers described Pullman as a "true one-off".

Gail Honeyman won book of the year for her best-selling debut Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Judges said it was "brilliantly written" and "the complete package".

Tom Wolfe, author of The Bonfire of the Vanities, dies aged 88.

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 12:15
Tom Wolfe, author of notable works such as The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities, has died aged 88. In addition to his books, he was a pioneer of New Journalism, which developed in the 1960s and 1970s and involved writing from a subjective perspective as opposed to more traditional objective journalism. He was also known for coining phrases such as "radical chic" and "the me decade".

Barnes & Noble: why it could soon be the bookshop's final chapter

Sat, 05/12/2018 - 23:05
Last week, Barnes & Noble, the largest book retailer in the US, saw its stock price plunge nearly 8% just days after the New York Times published an editorial calling for the chain to be saved. "It's depressing to imagine that more than 600 Barnes & Noble stores might simply disappear," wrote columnist David Leonhardt. "But the death of Barnes & Noble is now plausible."

Jojo Moyes pledges funds to save British adult literacy program, Quick Reads

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 19:07
Author Jojo Moyes has pledged to save the British adult literacy program Quick Reads from closure by funding it for the next three years. She says she was "completely dumbfounded" on learning of the scheme's closure and is believed to have donated around £360,000 (well over US$500,000) to help it continue.

"Having written a Quick Reads myself [Paris for One, in 2015] and spoken to readers who had benefited from the scheme, I knew how important it was," she told The Bookseller. "It is relatively low cost and loved by authors, publishers and readers. At a time when libraries are ever more endangered, it seemed a completely regressive move to lose Quick Reads."

Junot Díaz Steps Down as Pulitzer Chairman Amid Review of Misconduct Allegations

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 05:00
The Pulitzer Prize board has opened an independent review of sexual misconduct allegations against the award-winning novelist Junot Díaz, who is stepping down as chairman, the board said on Thursday.

"Mr. Díaz said he welcomed the review and would cooperate fully with it," the Pulitzer board said in a statement.

Mr. Díaz, who joined the board in 2010, was elevated to chairman last month, according to the organization. It said that Mr. Díaz asked to relinquish his role and that he would remain a part of the body.

Audible finishes third but America still gets a free audio book

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 05:00
Audible, the audio book distributor, threw its lot behind Audible, the 3-year-old colt, in the Kentucky Derby. The company sponsored the horse, which walked around in an ebook-themed blanket. If he won the 144th run for the roses, and he entered the race on 6-1 odds, the company would give away free audio versions of "American Pharoah," by Joe Drape.

Well, Audible didn't win. He came in third, behind Justify and Good Magic. Audible, the company doesn't care. America still gets a free audio book. Offer ends 5/9... (Story courtesy of The Washington Post).

Books by immigrants, foreigners and minorities don?t diminish the ?classic? curriculum. They enhance it

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 02:35
Viet Thanh Nguyen argues that books by immigrants, foreigners and minorities don't diminish the 'classic' curriculum. They enhance it....

...We must read Shakespeare and authors who are women, Arab, Muslim, queer. Most of the world is neither white nor European, and the United States may be a majority-minority country by mid-century. White people will gain more by embracing this reality rather than fighting it. As for literature, the mind-set that turns the canon into a bunker in order to defend one dialect of English is the same mind-set that closes borders, enacts tariffs and declares trade wars to protect its precious commodities and its besieged whiteness. But literature, like the economy, withers when it closes itself off from the world. The world is coming anyway. It demands that we know ourselves and the Other...

Are two spaces better than one between sentences?

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 02:25
Researchers Rebecca L. Johnson, Becky Bui and Lindsay L. Schmitt carried out research with students and eye-tracking technology to attempt to ascertain whether it is easier to read with one space or two between paragraphs. The conclusion was that two spaces is easier--with the important caveat that test subjects read paragraphs in Courier New, a fixed-width font similar to the old typewriters, and rarely used on modern computer.

Annie Proulx wins 2018 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 09:08
Annie Proulx has won the 2018 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. The prize honors an American literary writer "whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination. The award seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that--throughout long, consistently accomplished careers--have told us something new about the American experience."

Writer Zinzi Clemmons accuses Junot Díaz of forcibly kissing her

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 05:00
The novelist Junot Díaz was in a relaxed and playful mood on a panel at a writers festival in Australia on Friday, until he received an unexpected question near the end of the session.

The writer Zinzi Clemmons stood up. Without identifying herself by name, she asked Mr. Díaz about a recent essay he had published in The New Yorker detailing the sexual assault he experienced as an 8-year-old boy. She then asked why he had treated her the way he had six years prior, when she was a graduate student at Columbia.

Nobel Prize in Literature postponed until 2019

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 05:00
The Swedish Academy has postponed the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, with the intention of awarding it in 2019. This decision was prompted by a crisis involving accusations of assault by 18 women against French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who is married to an Academy member, Katarina Frostenson.

Reading aloud to young children has benefits for behavior and attention

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 05:00
It's a truism in child development that the very young learn through relationships and back-and-forth interactions, including the interactions that occur when parents read to their children. A new study provides evidence of just how sustained an impact reading and playing with young children can have, shaping their social and emotional development in ways that go far beyond helping them learn language and early literacy skills. The parent-child-book moment even has the potential to help curb problem behaviors like aggression, hyperactivity and difficulty with attention, a new study has found.

After 17 years of litigation, 'freelance' writers finally collect

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 12:21
The checks are in the mail—finally. Administrators have confirmed that payments were issued last week to thousands of freelance writers following a 2014 settlement in the long-running class action case In Re Literary Works in Electronic Databases, the culmination of some 17 years of litigation.

According to the Authors Guild, more than 3,000 writers initially filed claims pertaining to more than 600,000 articles. But in the final tally, 2494 writers were mailed checks totaling $9,456,000 in compensation. The publishers defendants were also responsible for paying attorneys' fees and costs totaling $3,906,000, and claims administration expenses of $889,000.