Ayobami Adebayo is interviewed by Abigail Bereola for Hazlitt and it’s fantastic. They discuss proverbs, romantic love, sickle cell anemia and writing your first book. “At the risk of sounding very narcissistic, I’m going to say I write for myself ultimately. And maybe my sister. I think that when I’m working, it’s very difficult for me to think about an audience, perhaps because sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. I’m trying to figure out so many things that I really don’t start thinking about the idea that other people might read this thing until, ‘Oh my God, it’s publication day’ and I have a panic attack like ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’ I think the awareness of an audience is something I’m just coming into because this is a first book.”
“Bertelsmann’s 7% decline in 2016 revenue was due entirely to a drop in sales at Penguin Random House. The lack of a big new bestseller hurt results at the company, and it divested some smaller divisions in the year.” For those interested in inside baseball, Publishers Weekly takes a look at how the world’s 50 largest publishers are faring. (TL;dr: Although their total revenue topped $50 billion, more than half of the list’s publishers reported sales declines – oh, and Harry Potter still really, really sells). As a counterpoint to all that capitalism, read our own Edan Lepucki‘s survey of self-published authors.
Joshua Cohen, author of the recently published Book of Numbers, will begin writing a serialized, twentieth-century version of Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers live and online next week. Beginning October 12 at 1pm, viewers can watch Cohen spend five days reimagining the book and will be able to offer criticism that may affect the ending.
Jill Abramson, fired last week from her post as New York Times executive editor, broke her silence today with her commencement address at Wake Forest. “I’m talking to anyone who has been dumped,” she said. “Not gotten the job you really wanted or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school. You know, the sting of losing, or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.” Video here.
There is good news for those of us whose dreams of artistic superstardom don’t seem to be panning out — a job listing from McSweeney’s seeking failed artists for an associate position. “We would hate for you to be pretentious,” the listing states, “but if you don’t regularly call other people pretentious — this might not be the job for you.”
“He wrote the first drafts by hand, and when that became too difficult, dictated sections of the book into a tape recorder.” Before his death in July, playwright and actor Sam Shepard wrote a novel called Spy of the First Person, which is forthcoming from Knopf in December. From our archives, a list of writers who also act.