Filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood

Despite interest from the likes of Gus Van Sant and Bret Easton Ellis, British video artist and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood has been selected to direct the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Gray. Though Taylor-Wood—who, since her marriage, has gone by Taylor-Johnson—has only directed one feature-length film, a biopic about the early years of John Lennon, she is well-known for her photography and video art, which focus on themes of sexuality, death, and madness.

In an essay for the New York Times Book Review, Chloe Schama wonders why there are so many exposed female backs on the covers of new novels.

Over the past few weeks, Australian writer Kathryn Heyman has had an interesting back-and-forth with the editors of the London Review of Books about the paucity of female writers in their pages. After receiving a letter asking her to renew her subscription, Heyman declined, and sent off a hilarious letter bemoaning the LRB's dearth of women writers. In response, senior editor Paul Myerscough wrote a gracious note, commenting, that “despite the distress it causes us that the proportion of women in the paper remains so stubbornly low, the efforts we’ve made to change the situation have been hopelessly unsuccessful.”

In an interview with Canada’s National Post, 81-year-old Canadian writer Alice Munro said that she has more or less retired from writing. Munro told the paper that she’s "probably not going to write anymore." (In the past, Munro has announced her retirement only to later publish new work).

Last week, the Paris-based bookstore Shakespeare and Co. and the London-based White Review (whose editors were interviewed last year for Bookforum) awarded the bi-annual Paris Literary Prize to C.E. Smith for his novella Body Electric. The award, which was established in 2010, grants 10,000 euro to a novella written in English by a previously unpublished author from anywhere in the world. The previous winner was Rosa Rankin-Gee, who won for her book, The Last Kings of Sark.

After coming under fire for a Kickstarter campaign that raised $16,000 for a book critics called called a “manual for sexual abuse,” the fundraising company has decided to ban all so-called “seduction guides” and has announced that they’ve donated $25,000 to an anti-sexual violence organization.

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