• Mary-Kay Wilmers, editor of the London Review of Books, talks with Rachel Cooke about the history of the beloved (and apparently unprofitable) publication:

    At first an off-shoot of the New York Review of Books, it was born in the Winter of Discontent, when the TLS had ceased to appear owing to strike action. . . . Only weeks later, however, and the TLS resurfaced; the New York Review of Books, as Wilmers puts it, ‘sloughed off’ its British baby.

  • In a four-book deal, literary agent Andrew Wylie has sold Martin Amis’ The Pregnant Widow to Jonathan Cape for publication in 2006, along with “another novel, a collection of short stories and a collection of essays,” according to Publishers Marketplace. Tibor Fischer must be sharpening his knives.
  • I mentioned recently that the Algonquin Hotel, former haunt of Dorothy Parker and the rest of the 20’s Round Table crew, is trying to lure in starving writers by offering them unspecified lunch discounts on its expensive meals. Judging by the hotel’s less-than-generous “reward” for the return of keys, ashtrays and other items taken by previous guests — $25 off the next stay, which sans discount would cost $229 – $449 for the most humble room — I don’t predict a 21st Century Literary Round Table will spring up under its roof.
  • Reports written by Britain’s “now-defunct” stage censors of the 50’s and 60’s have been released to the public. According to the censors’ assessments:

    Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party was “an insane and pointless play”. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett was described as “an interminable verbal labyrinth” while Cat on a Hot Tin Roof had Tennessee Williams “vomiting up the recurring theme of his not-too-subconscious where the gentlewoman is debased”.

  • Edith Wharton’s The Cruise of the Vanadis, recently published for the first time as a travel book, is the earliest writing left by the writer. For the Palm Beach Post, Scott Eyman says the book is “most valuable for its portrayal of the places as they existed toward the end of the 19th century.”
  • In case you don’t get your fill from the sites alone, here’s a long-ass interview with ten literary bloggers, including me.
  • If she hadn’t before, this weekend Deborah Solomon officially clinched the title of Rudest, Most Ignorant Literary Interviewer in the World with this interview of Christine Schutt, in which she suggests the author is a pedophile because her narrator is.


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.