Jane Austen is a rare figure. Acclaimed as one of the most brilliant authors in modern history, she has a popularity that few of her peers can match, as evidenced by her posthumous sales and huge numbers of dedicated fans. How did her work hit the sweet spot of broad appeal and scholarly fame? In the WSJ, Alexander McCall Smith provides a theory. (h/t The Paris Review Daily)
It's been 23 years since Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman wrote Good Omens together, but a new collaboration is in the works. Director Dirk Maggs revealed to RadioTimes.com that he's working with Gaiman on a Pratchett project for BBC Radio. Previously, Maggs teamed up with Gaiman on the excellent Neverwhere radio adaptation. More good news for Pratchett fans: he just signed a 10-book deal with Doubleday and Anchor Books.
“We have documented cases of at least 47 writers and journalists currently imprisoned in China. The average sentence for a writer is eight years in prison, and some sentences are even harsher.” PEN American Writers send a letter to Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, in response to his visit to the U.S. We have a few pieces about censorship to pair with it.
Word on the street is that Oprah's new book club pick will be Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan. So, last chance to get one before the Oprah logo goes on the front. We first wrote about Akpan when he appeared in the 2005 New Yorker debut fiction issue. Say You're One of Them was also a "Most Anticipated" book in 2008.