2012 could be the year that we get to know Sergei Dovlatov, and our own Sonya Chung may have played a role. Her 2009 piece on the forgotten Russian humorist helped land one of his stories in PEN America. Soon we started seeing Dovlatov mentioned everywhere, and last year, Counterpoint published The Suitcase, and now The Zone will be released this week. Other new releases this week: An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer, Heft by Liz Moore, and The Evening Hour, a debut novel by Carter Sickels.
This week has been full of news about unorthodox children’s book authors. First, there was Keith Richards’s picture book, and now an Australian academic claims that Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung wrote children’s books, too. “I was astounded that children’s books (purportedly) written by Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung were vastly more readable than one would expect from any political leader in the democratic west, still less a severe authoritarian,” doctoral student Christopher Richardson said.
Literary Hub has an excerpt of an essay by Chris Jackson, Editor in Chief of Random House’s One World imprint on how we can actually achieve diversity in the publishing industry. “What’s the payoff of having a more diverse workforce? Well, there’s obviously the moral case to be made—and that’s a case that I think applies to any industry. But in book publishing, I think we have a special obligation, given our central role in shaping the culture.” And he shares the origin story of how he started to work with Ta-Nehisi Coates.
In lieu of writing a legitimately popular book, or having Barack Obama photographed while being “given” your book, it appears that you can get onto the New York Times bestsellers list for about $200,000.