Jessica Francis Kane’s mother worked for Playboy back in the 1960s, a time “when it was an intellectual magazine as well as a pinup, when people really did subscribe to it for the articles.” Over at The Morning News, Kane shares a fascinating interview with her mother, and they talk about what it was “like to be a woman … in such a sexy workplace at such a weird time.”
Most actors don't go on The Tonight Show to promote literature, but leave it to James Franco to be the first to brag about getting his poetry M.F.A. to Jimmy Fallon. He discussed his new book, Directing Herbert White, and his mentor Frank Bidart. For more on the Bidart/Franco friendship, check out our own Janet Potter's recap of attending an event featuring the two writers.
Purveyor of popular nonfiction Erik Larson has a new book out this week, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin. The Snowman by Jo Nesbø is a new entry in the increasingly popular Scandinavian thriller genre. Inward-looking graphic novelist Chester Brown's latest, Paying for It is out, and musician and actor Steve Earle can now add "novelist" to his resume with the release of I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive. And new in paperback are a pair of big books, Brady Udall's The Lonely Polygamist and Karl Marlantes's Matterhorn.
The mystery of the skull that might once have sat between the shoulders of one William Shakespeare will remain unresolved for now. A senior church lawyer for St. Leonard’s Church in Beoley, Redditch, has barred the group of curious clergymen from removing the skull for DNA testing. Alas, poor William.
This year’s Whiting Award winners have been announced. The award recognizes “ten emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry, and are based on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior work to come.” The winners include Catherine Lacey (of Nobody Is Ever Missing); Alice Sola Kim (of Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying); and Ocean Vuong (of Night Sky with Exit Wounds, among other books).