He befriended Mark Twain. His father wrote The Scarlet Letter. He drank wine with Oscar Wilde, George Eliot and Henry James, and William Randolph Hearst once hired him as a reporter. He even published a few books to critical acclaim. So why do so few of us know anything about Julian Hawthorne? In the WaPo, Michael Dirda reviews a new biography. (h/t Arts and Letters Daily)
Word came out yesterday that Jonathan Galassi and Year in Reading alum Mona Simpson will join the Paris Review editorial board. Former editors both -- Galassi edited the magazine’s poetry, while Simpson edited its fiction -- the two will join Rose Styron, Jeffrey Eugenides and other notable figures on the board. Simpson also has a new novel coming out in April.
Any writer who has felt the sting of rejection---that is, all writers---will be inspired by the story of Dick Wimmer, who has died at the age of 74. Over the course of 25 years, a total of 162 agents and publishers rejected Wimmer's first novel, Irish Wine, before it was finally published by Mercury House in 1989. The New York Times called it a "taut, finely written, exhaustingly exuberant first novel." The L.A. Times invoked James Joyce in its review. Wimmer, the iron man of the rejection wars, went on to publish two sequels, Boyne's Lassie and Hagar's Dream (All three books are now available in a single volume from Soft Skull.) The moral of Wimmer's story? Never give up.
"If we are looking for a single category to explain why women are better represented among best-selling authors today, the Literary/None category is our best candidate. Most best-selling books fall into this category, and its change over time closely matches the overall gender ratio, shifting from extreme bias in the 1980s to close to parity in the 2000s." Rosie Cima has put together a beautifully thorough and thoughtful analysis of gender, best-seller lists, and publishing for The Pudding. For a more exegetical analysis, consider our own Sonya Chung's exploration of writing across gender lines.