paper trail

Philip Roth has died

Philip Roth

Philip Roth has died at the age of eighty-five. The New York Times obituary calls Roth “the last of the great white males,” along with John Updike and Saul Bellow, and quotes Roth comparing himself to the two authors: “Updike and Bellow hold their flashlights out into the world, reveal the world as it is now. I dig a hole and shine my flashlight into the hole.” At The Guardian, writers and friends remember Roth, who won the Pulitzer prize for his 1997 novel American Pastoral and is one of the most award-winning novelists in American literature. The New Yorker has a run-down of the magazine’s coverage of Roth and his contributions over the years. Among the most memorable are a profile from 2000 by David Remnick and a 2012 article about Roth’s retirement. As Gary Shteyngart put it, “Roth led a life for which most writers would give up both of their typing arms: he completed his life’s project and then he stopped. Could there be a better writing life than that?”

This year’s Man Booker International Prize has been awarded to Olga Tokarczuk for her novel Flights. Tokarczuk is the first Polish author to win the prize. The chair of the judging committee, Lisa Appignanesi, said of the book, “We loved the voice of the narrative—it’s one that moves from wit and gleeful mischief to real emotional texture and has the ability to create character very quickly, with interesting digression and speculation.”

There have been more layoffs at Vanity Fair. The magazine is restructuring and is planning to announce some new hires soon. 

Michelle Cottle has been named the lead opinion writer for national politics at the New York Times. Cottle has previously worked at The Atlantic, the National Journal, and the Daily Beast. The Times press release summed up her recent output: “Among many other gems, her recent work has included (politely) nudging Hillary Clinton toward the exit, dissecting the #MeToo era in state government and sticking up for unpaid interns—all the while, digging into today’s dating scene as a Date Lab columnist for The Washington Post.” At the Washington Post, Monica Hesse has been hired as the paper’s first gender columnist. 

Tonight at the New York Public Library, documentary photographer Susan Meiselas, whose retrospective book Mediations was published in March, talks about her work with artist Ann Hamilton.