Philip Roth

The much-publicized announcement by Philip Roth via an interview with the BBC that he will retire from both public appearances and the written word raises the interesting question of whether writers can actually do that? Roth already signed off the duties of actual writing some time earlier in 2012, and this latest declaration apparently precludes […]

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I saw and heard something remarkable just a few hours ago, something I'm not likely to forget until all the mechanisms of remembering are shot and I’m tucked away for good. Philip Roth celebrated his eightieth birthday in the Billy Johnson Auditorium of the Newark Museum last night with the most astonishing literary performance I’ve ever witnessed. On his birthday night, he put on a farewell performance, a great burst of writing and sly self-display—a triumphal lope around the bases, like Ted Williams did on his last day…

Bookish ( a one-stop, comprehensive online destination designed to connect readers with books and authors, launches today, providing visitors with exclusive content and insider access to A-list writers. Notable launch stories include: A joint interview with legendary crime fiction writer Michael Connelly and prize-winning suspense author Michael Koryta, revealing that Connelly had begun a book centering on a school shooting prior to the tragedy in Sandy Hook. The article also features juicy tidbits about both Connelly and Koryta’s upcoming books:

Andy Ward has edited George Saunders’ writing since 2005, first at GQ, and now at Random House. On the occasion of Saunders’ new collection, Tenth of December, Ward and Saunders emailed each other about writing, editing, outtakes, and how over and over again The Novel becomes a story.

Ward: Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s a story in this here collection, “Semplica Girl Diaries,” that you started in 1998 and finished in September of 2012, 14 years later.

Saunders: Yes, and thanks for bringing up that painful subject.

Books — staid and intellectual cultural artifacts that they so often are — were not all just staid or intellectual this year. Not nearly. There were, in fact, scandals, at least a few of them surrounding books and their authors and publishers, and there were times in which discussions of books and the business grew dramatic and tension-filled. Near-scandals! Other times, these conversations were simply very, very interesting, full of twists and turns, much like a good book.

The National Book Awards ceremony is getting the Oscars treatment, reports the New York Times. In addition to adding a red carpet, hiring a DJ and inviting celebs like, ahem, Molly Ringwald, the awards board appears to be making a push toward higher-profile nominees, noting, as per the report: “Fame or obscurity, small press or large, should have no bearing on your deliberations."

In addition, as per the Times' Leslie Kaufman, the finalists (Junot Díaz, Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Ben Fountain and Kevin Powers) were announced on Morning Joe. —Brian Howard



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