Tonight, Bookforum and Villa Gillet present “Starting from Here: Every Place Tells a Story,” at the French Institute Alliance Française in Manhattan. Panelists include American writers Reif Larsen and Peter Turchi, French author Philippe Vasset, and French geographer Michel Lussault. Moderated by Bookforum co-editor Albert Mobilio, the participants will discuss the ways in which maps and stories narrate a sense of place.
Yesterday morning at the Guggenheim, Rupert Murdoch successfully launched his iPad newspaper, The Daily (the only hitch was when a reporter from a rival news organization asked Murdoch an uncomfortable question).
There’s a heated debate at the Columbia Journalism Review, where author Philip Gourevitch takes exception to a recent CJR article that claims Gourevitch “softens some hard truths” about Rwanda. Gourevitch writes: “CJR—on the defensive and after the fact—has invited me to respond. But what can you say about a piece that is such a porridge of innuendo and insinuation, misrepresentations and deliberate distortions? Its claim that controversy boils around me is conspicuously unsubstantiated.”
Jacket Copy’s Carolyn Kellogg gives newbies the lowdown on this week’s Association of Writing Programs (AWP) conference.
Atlantic contributing editor and Bookforum regular Graeme Wood is reporting from Cairo’s Tahir square, offering a riveting first-person account of the peaceful protest's violent turn earlier today. In our current issue, Wood reviews Mario Vargas Llosa’s latest historical novel, El Sueno del celta, about the conflicted life of liberator Roger Casement.
Apple announced that it has decided to change the rules for publishers. No surprise that this comes without an apology. Previously, the company allowed application developers to sell content over a web browser, not through the app itself. Now, Apple decides it wants a cut after all, and beginning later this year, it will traffic these sales itself—and charge a 30% toll. The Times quotes an electronics analyst who says, “Apple started making money with devices. Maybe the new thing that everyone recognizes is the unit of economic value is the platform, not the device.” But there are deeper implications for magazines and newspapers that go to the heart of the business model—retaining control over subscriptions and, crucially, subscriber data.
Colson Whitehead has announced that his new book, Zone One, will be published in October. It’s a disaster novel! Whitehead tweeted yesterday that it “concerns the rehabilitation of NYC after the apocalypse,” adding later, "if the book were a mash-up, it'd be Leonard Cohen's 'The Future' + Wire's 'Reuters' + Joy Division's 'Decades'." Whitehead is the author of, among other things, a nonfiction book about the city (Colossus of New York), a satire about branding (Apex Hides the Hurt), and the most hilarious Twitter feed we know of. Is it too much to hope that this postapocalyptic novel is a comedy?
Rupert Murdoch’s iPad newspaper, The Daily, launches at an event at the Guggenheim today at 11 am. Among the new e-paper's staff are journalists from the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Atlantic and other old-media stalwarts. As the Times reported last fall, The Daily will have about one hundred editors and writers, and a first-year budget of thirty million dollars.
Wayne Barrett—the dogged reporter and author of Rudy!: An Investigative Biography of Rudy Giuliani—was let go by the Village Voice in early January. Less than a month later, Tina Brown has asked him to join her Daily Beast/Newsweek venture.
Tonight at the New School, the French cultural institute Villa Gillet and n+1 magazine are hosting “Catastrophe Practice,” a panel discussion featuring philosopher Jean-Pierre Dupuy, University of Lyons president Michel Lussault, and artist Josh Neufeld. The discussion “begins with the premise that catastrophe is the norm or rule of modern life—the nightmare inversion to the Enlightenment account of human progress.”
Granta magazine has announced a Kindle edition: “If you want to read the magazine on a Kindle, your copy can arrive in under a minute. An improvement in speed of 40,000 per cent. Perhaps this is the way of the future. Trees in Sweden will live a little longer.”
John R. MacArthur
The turmoil at Harper’s continues. Last week, the Harper’s Union held an online fundraiser that they say raised $50,000 dollars to help keep the magazine from losing staff. (It's been reported that publisher John R. MacArthur is undecided whether to accept the money, telling Forbes "I don’t want to take money from people of modest incomes, and I certainly don’t want to accept corporate or foundation money that, too often, comes with strings attached.") Yesterday, Harper’s associate editor Theodore Ross announced on his blog, Dadwagon, that he had accepted a severance package after six years on the job. Ross writes: “I will say that Harper’s problems are hardly original among its publishing peers: the challenges it faces are structural, others stem from poor luck and an inability to plan; most, however, are clearly self-inflicted.” There's been no public word yet on the fate of Ben Metcalf, the literary editor also said to be slated for a layoff, a fight whose outcome may be the most telling indicator of the magazine’s future direction.
The Telegraph has accused The Guardian of releasing alleged Wikileaks source Bradley Manning’s name to the media, as The Guardian has just published its account of L’affaire Assange in a new book, WIKILEAKS: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy. The Guardian responds to The Telegraph’s charge: “The whole world knows [Manning] is alleged to be the source. So to accuse us of somehow naming him looks at best like a piece of mischief and at worst something more unpleasant.”
In 1988, thirty-six year old Karla Eoff received a phone call from a friend asking if she wanted to be Susan Sontag’s assistant. Newly arrived in New York, Eoff decided that it would be good to at least meet the legendary author. Soon after, Eoff was hired, and discovered that “with Susan, you’re either on the ride or you’re not. For a few amazing years, I was on it. And it was quite a ride.” (Via Vol. I Brooklyn).
Tonight at BookCourt in Brooklyn, Paula Bomer reads from her short story collection Baby & Other Stories, along with Jessica Anya Blau, and Susan Henderson.