PEN has released a statement criticizing the organizers of the London Book Fair for failing to recognize arrested and censored Chinese authors at this year’s Fair, which opens tomorrow and highlights China as the featured country. PEN estimates that at least thirty-five writers are currently imprisoned in China.
France has classified philosopher Michel Foucault’s archives as a national treasure.
Picador’s new Tumblr has released a literary mixtape that thankfully avoids the cliches of such playlists (for example Guns and Roses’ “Catcher in the Rye;” the 10,000 Maniacs’ “Hey Jack Kerouac”). Instead, we get The Mountain Goats’ “Lovecraft in Brooklyn,” J Church’s “The New York Times Book Review,” and 138 other literary tracks. Although, of course, they do miss a few: The Hold Steady’s “Stuck Between Stations,” which alludes to John Berryman’s suicide; Matmos’s “The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast,” about Ludwig Wittgenstein; Mastodon’s Leviathan, about Moby Dick; Momus’s “Marquis of Sadness,” and Jawbreaker’s “Condition Oakland,” which closes with a recording of a Kerouac poetry reading.
The Rumpus’s Gina Frangello praises a Huffpost article about the ten “awful truths” of publishing, remarking: “Too many people who want to ‘be writers’ aren’t really aware of any truths of publishing at all. They think publishing is an ivory tower and that editors are sitting around in fancy offices taking fiendish pleasure in rejecting them and then going out for lunch with Jonathan Franzen at some private club.” She adds, “the number of editors who have that kind of life is so few it barely merits discussion.”
Tyler Cowen has requested a “Directors Cut eBook” containing the 350,000 words that former Knopf editor Robert Gottlieb cut out of The Power Broker, Robert Caro’s 1,344 page tome on the New York City planner Robert Moses. In a profile this week, the New York Times Magazine described Caro as “the last of the 19th-century biographers, the kind who believe that the life of a great or powerful man deserves not just a slim volume, or even a fat one, but a whole shelf full.”
“I think I was a priest in my previous life. Strangers disclose to me,” says Irvine Welsh. “They confess everything. They do this in bars, supermarket queues, but most of all on public transport, where, as a non-driver, I spend a great deal of time.” The Trainspotting author discusses the stranger aspects of life in Chicago, his forthcoming novel (Skagboys) and film (Ecstasy), and the HBO series he’s currently working on.