He grew up in Edinburgh, wears sharp suits, and added the entry for “phat” to the Oxford English Dictionary. Meet the new editor in chief of the OED, Michael Proffitt. Tom Rachman profiles him at The New York Times.
As part of its 2013 literary awards, the PEN American Center will grant nearly $150,000 to writers, editors, and translators through sixteen different awards and fellowships, and for the first time ever they’ve decided to publish their shortlist online. Among the finalists is Sergio De La Pava, whose novel A Naked Singularity is up for the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for a debut work. You might recall our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s profile of De La Pava last summer, and you can catch a glimpse of the author’s next book on our Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
Elizabeth Kostova's follow-up to The Historian is out today. The Swan Thieves was one of our "Most Anticipated" books. Also out today is Day out of Days, a collection of stories by Sam Shepard, and Game Change, an account of the 2008 presidential race from John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, a pair of big name political reporters.
"In publishing, we see this play out in a number of ways. Marginalized writers are told by white editors, we need your stories now more than ever, as if we have not always needed them urgently. We are told our experiences are timely, exotic, and trendy. We are told our stories are not authentic if our characters do not suffer, as if the only way to prove that we are human is to bleed." Natalia Sylvester on the erasure that comes when marginalized writers are constantly being told by the publishing industry and others that your book about your marginalized identity is 'timely'.
I’ve noted before how William Carlos Williams’s famous poem, “This Is Just to Say,” has become an internet meme, but I haven’t noted the ongoing and delightfully random “Just to Say” Twitter bot. And also, I haven’t before linked to Tammy Ho Lai-Ming’s riff on Williams’s rhythms.
“Apple’s example sentence for ‘shrill’ referenced ‘women’s voices,’ and the one for the word ‘psyche’ read, ‘I will never really fathom the female psyche.’ [...] The pronouns in entries for ‘doctor’ and ‘research’ were male, while a ‘she’ could be found doing ‘housework.’” The New Oxford American Dictionary needs its own guidelines for nonsexist usage.