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Book News Roundup: The APRIL farewell tour begins this week

  • I'm quoted in this very good short sendoff for the APRIL Festival in this month's Seattle Met, by Darren Davis:
The party may be ending this year with a send-off event, but it leaves having made its mark on the local literary scene. “APRIL took readings out of bookstores and into bars, onto the street,” says Paul Constant of The Seattle Review of Books, who started noticing younger crowds at readings after 2012.
  • Blogging service Medium announced yesterday that they're going to start selling memberships for $5 per month. A whole lot of blogs that we like, including The Awl and Electric Literature, moved over to Medium last year. Then, Medium laid off a bunch of employees. Hopefully, they'll figure this out, because there aren't very many blogging options available to people anymore. I remain skeptical that a subscription, which offers "exclusive stories" and an "offline reading list," is going to be lucrative enough to support the company, but I wish them luck.

  • The latest issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice features an article titled "A Comparison of Traditional Book Reviews and Amazon.com Book Reviews of Fiction Using a Content Analysis Approach.” The idea is to determine whether traditional book reviews or Amazon reviews are more helpful for librarians. Here's the conclusion from the abstract:

Although Amazon.com provides multiple reviews of a book on one convenient site, traditional sources of professionally written reviews would most likely save librarians more time in making purchasing decisions, given the higher quality of the review assessment.
  • I interviewed former Elizabeth Warren staffer Ganesh Sitaraman at Town Hall last night about his new book The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution. Sitaraman is an incredibly smart man who had a lot to say about the history of income equality in this country, and the audience Q&A portion of the evening was fantastic. You should read Sitaraman's book, which will influence political theory for years to come. And if you would like more information before you pick it up, I'd encourage you to read this wonderful Atlantic interview with him.

Book News Roundup: Fair trade ebooks, Jeffrey Tambor in Seattle, and writing tips from Kafka

  • If you're looking for a fun way to support the Short Run Comix & Art Festival, you should consider joining their Mini-comics club, which supports the festival's micropress.
Help support Short Run’s Micropress by joining our Mini-comics Club! Want mini-comics delivered to your door every month? Donors at the $120 level will receive a Short Run tote bag and 1 mini-comic every month to fill it up. We have curated a selection of Pacific Northwest artists who represent the look and feel of Short Run.
  • Tickets for the May 23rd Seattle appearance of Arrested Development and Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor went on sale yesterday. Seattle Arts and Lectures is bringing him to town to celebrate the publication of his memoir Are You Somebody?

  • Cory Doctorow is launching an online ebook retailer codenamed Shut Up and Take My Money, which he bills as the world's first "fair trade" online store.

As an author, being my own e-book retailer gets me a lot. It gets me money: once I take the normal 30 percent retail share off the top, and the customary 25 percent royalty from my publisher on the back-end, my royalty is effectively doubled. It gives me a simple, fair way to cut all the other parts of the value-chain in on my success: because this is a regular retail sale, my publishers get their regular share, likewise my agents. And, it gets me up-to-the-second data about who's buying my books and where.
  • Amazon is not just threatening bookstores anymore. Turns out, according to Naked Capitalism, Amazon might be putting 12 million non-book retail jobs at risk, too. Amazon's growth is increasing, mall retail stores are collapsing, and Amazon only needs half as many employees as brick-and-mortars.

  • This tweet is making the rounds:

  • Regarding that tweet, to aspiring writers: for God's sake, don't suffer for your art. Just write every day, no matter how difficult it may be. You will improve and it will get easier. Writing doesn't have to be a Kafkaesque experience.

Book News Roundup: Saying goodbye to Lem's Life Enrichment Bookstore owner Vickie Williams

  • At the South Seattle Emerald, Marcus Harrison Green says goodbye to Vickie Williams, the owner of a long-running Columbia City Bookstore:
The longtime owner of Seattle’s only black-owned bookstore, Lem’s Life Enrichment Bookstore, in the Columbia City neighborhood, was laid to rest in a funeral attended by more than 600 people, including local officials and community luminaries, and a large swath of the black community.
If you’re an independent comics creator in the Seattle region, Anne Bean wants to stock you. Bean—a comics writer, indie publisher and freelance writer—is launching Emerald Comics Distribution, a solo operation that will represent and distribute indie comics regionally.
When we opened our new downtown library with its large auditorium, back in 2004, I stood looking up at the empty seats and immediately felt that I needed to do a story time for adults there. Ours is one of the most childless cities in the country. Every library has children’s story time. Don’t adults deserve the same? Our need for story doesn’t go away at a certain age. Not surprisingly, turnout has been good for over a decade, and spinoff programs such as ghost storytelling in bars are standing room only. Last year, I added another narrative element by pairing story readings with screenings of film adaptations in a program I called Page to Screen.

Book News Roundup: UW Press is hiring, Wide World Books & Maps considers its future

The company is considering a few options, including reopening in another location or focusing solely on its Web business. Also under consideration are the possibilities of adding a coffee shop or wine/beer bar, or services like travel consulting "if we can find a different location that is already set up for these types of activities.... A partnership to share space with an existing café or coffee shop would also be of interest to us."
  • If you're looking for work in the publishing field, you should note that UW Press is now looking to fill two positions:
The UW Press has an outstanding opportunity for a Senior Acquisitions Editor to acquire and transmit 20-25 high-quality trade manuscripts annually for publication for regional and national audiences. Areas for acquisitions will complement the press's existing editorial program in regional and U.S. history and culture, Asian and Asian American studies, environmental history, women's, gender, and sexuality studies, visual culture, and Native and Indigenous studies, with the opportunity to build distinguished lists in other areas.
The University of Washington Press has an outstanding temporary opportunity for a MELLON DIVERSITY FELLOW.... Through this temporary, full-time entry-level position, the Mellon diversity fellow will be immersed in the acquisitions department of a leading scholarly press, working closely with senior acquisitions editors, authors, and projects through the entire acquisitions process. In this experience, the fellow's main role will be to coordinate and support the work of evaluating, developing, and acquiring book-length manuscripts for publication by UW Press.
  • Here's video of Emma Watson leaving feminist books at the Gertrude Stein statue in New York City to celebrate International Women's Day:
  • Ron Charles at the Washington Post notes that you can now buy 1984 at Costco. It takes a President Trump to get Orwell onto the shelves of America's best big-box bulk retailer.

Book News Roundup: A local debut, the secret behind Douglass Truth Library's name, and much more

It has been life-affirming to see so many writers bless us with some of their first professionally published pieces — women writers of color, trans writers, queer writers, disabled writers — talking about some of the most important issues of the day with actual lived experience. I have loved knowing that every piece is edited with integrity, and that every writer is paid for their labor. To be a member of the founding team of a rare platform that is fair and equitable and treats all writers with respect has given my work more purpose and satisfaction than I could have ever imagined.
  • Seattle writer Anca Szilagyi announced yesterday that her debut novel, Dirty, will be published by Lanternfish Press "in late 2017 or early 2018." She describes the book as "a magical realist work about a teenage runaway whose father is disappeared during Argentina’s Dirty War."

  • Tomorrow, to celebrate International Women's Day, Tor.com will publish new flash fiction by a host of great sci-fi authors — including Charlie Jane Anders, Maria Dahvana Headley, Nisi Shawl, Carrie Vaughn, and many more — on the theme "Nevertheless, She Persisted."

  • Jillian Kay Melchior at Heatstreet writes: "To draw attention to female authors, a Cleveland bookstore celebrated Women’s History Month by turning every male-written book in the fiction room backward on its shelf." Go look at the picture of what the bookstore looked like, now imagine what your shelves would look like if you did the same. Better yet, actually try it on your own bookshelves. It only took Loganberry Books 2 hours to do this with their 10,000 titles.

  • Headline of the day: "The New Yorker’s new bot will tweet 92 years worth of poetry at you."

  • Print magazine sales declined 12.4 percent last year. It's not as steep a drop as the year before, but it's still bad news for print media.

  • Always warms our hearts to see book reviewers start out young:

Book News Roundup: With today's special guest stars, Walt Whitman and L. Ron Hubbard

  • The Seattle Public Library has announced that they've made public a dataset which "includes a count of checkouts by month of both physical and digital items, and spans from 2005 to the present." You can find that list here.

  • The Nebula Awards ballot has been announced. We couldn't be more pleased to announce that Seattle Review of Books contributor Nisi Shawl's novel Everfair is on the ballot for best novel. We're bummed to see that Seattle author Cat Rambo's short work "Red in Tooth and Cog" was bumped from the novelette category because it's a little too short to meet the word count.

  • A novel by Walt Whitman has been discovered. (To quibble: At 36,000 words, it's more of a novella than a novel.) It sounds positively Dickensian:

...Life and Adventures of Jack Engle, is a first-person narrative following an orphan on his journey through New York, which included a full cast of colorful, diabolical money-and-power-hungry characters, as well as “virtuous Quakers” and a “sultry Spanish dancer.” Researchers believe that the work was never reprinted after it was published anonymously in the New York–area newspaper The Sunday Dispatch.

Book News Roundup: "Leave Milo Alone!" edition

“This offering represents a unique opportunity to invest in a 100% leased property with a stable retail income stream and future development potential located in one of Seattle’s hottest and growing neighborhoods,” the pitch from the Jones Lang LaSalle real estate firm concludes.
  • "An average of five people are kicked out of Seattle Public Libraries (SPL) each day," Nathalie Graham writes at the South Seattle Emerald. Her full report on SPL's anti-homeless policies is a must-read.

  • Shockingly, Milo Yiannopolous's agent, who recieves a portion of Yiannopolous's income as a writer, has written an editorial for Publishers Weekly titled "In Defense of Milo Yiannopoulos's Book." Thomas Flannery Jr writes:

When protesters try to silence Milo, when they show up to his events and physically threaten him, or scream and smear fake blood all over themselves, or riot and destroy property, they are using tactics I, as a self-described progressive, have always chided others for using. I won’t stand for it when religious groups try to silence transgender supporters, and I won’t stand for it when so-called progressives try to silence conservative voices.
  • Regarding the above quote: Flannery is confusing freedom of speech with a right to a platform. Just as Yiannopoulos has a right to speak, protesters have a right to protest him. And if Yiannopoulos threatens students, as he did in Miluaukee colleges have a right to not give him a platform. Remember, while Flannery whines about people raising their voices, it was a Yiannopoulos fan who shot a protester when Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of Washington. So who's doing the intimidating, here? And why should Publishers Weekly have given a platform to someone who is financially vested in Yiannopoulos's success? Maybe it's because Flannery is the only person in the publishing industry willing to stand up for his client?

  • Video footage of Marcel Proust has been discovered. If In Search of Lost Time was inspired by a cookie, imagine what Proust would have written in response to a clip of archival footage.

  • I was reading this blog that mocks old library books, and the most recent entry is a sexual health guide for youth written by Dr. Ruth Westheimer. The writer, Holly Hibner, writes, "The cover image attached features an endearing but very old lady who looks way too much like my grandma." The fact that young writers don't know who Dr. Ruth is makes me feel very, very old. One day, Hibner will probably be reading a post written by a young writer mocking one of Dan Savage's books. On that day, she might understand how I feel right now. That is all.

  • Most comics blogs only cover actual comics news less than a third of the time, Heidi MacDonald at The Beat discovered. The rest of the posts are about "toys, wrestling, video games and what I’d call 'related business news' like conventions, collectibles and human interest."

  • I loved reading this super-nerdy post tracking the changes of a minor-but-useful spell through the many editions of Dungeons & Dragons.

Book News Roundup: Seattle comic book store goes nonprofit

Seattle comic book store, Comics Dungeon, Inc., has made the change to leave behind its for-profit status to become a fully non-profit corporation.

Comics Dungeon, Inc will be changing its name to Comics for Community, Compassion and Culture, C4C3. “After being part of the community for over 25 years, we wanted our focus to be giving back to the very community that built our success,” said Scott Tomlin, C4C3’s president. The Comics Dungeon retail store name will remain the same.

Virtual reality simulations, talking robots and a magic school bus — this is what happens when a theme park company designs a library.

Landmark Entertainment Group — the company responsible for the Spider-Man and Jurassic Park rides at Universal Orlando and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas — has partnered with the city of Homestead to create the world’s first “Cybrary,” or cyber library.

“We are redefining what the library is,” said George Gretsas, Homestead’s city manager. “When you think about bettering this thing called a library, which has been around since before 300 B.C, do you turn to the library scientists — the librarians — to create a fresh and new thing, or do you turn to people who have expertise in the areas of entertainment and attraction?”

Book News Roundup: Get a publishing job, help Standing Rock, and ruin your Mr. Darcy sex dreams

  • Sherman Alexie is sharing a bill with Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Naomi Wachira on Sunday, March 5th at the Showbox on 1st Avenue. This is a fundraiser benefitting Standing Rock and The Water Protector Legal Collective. Sherman Alexie is the only writer in the Northwest who can consistently share a stage with rock stars. This is worth your time, and it benefits a great cause. Buy your tickets now.

  • Here's a book job that doesn't require you to move to New York City: Seattle-based press Sasquatch Books is hiring a Production Editor! Here (PDF) is the job listing. Applications are due by February 20th. But you probably shouldn't turn in your application on the last day, since editors are deadline-driven. So work on your resume this weekend and get it in on Monday.

  • Mark Campos at the Seattle Weekly this week contributed a comic strip that pokes fun at that guy who asks those kinds of questions at readings. You know the guy. Yeah, him.

  • Don't click this link if you frequently fantasize about Mr. Darcy. Seriously, don't click it.

Book News Roundup: Special fall-of-the-bestseller-list edition

  • We told you yesterday that the New York Times seems to be removing a number of categories from its popular bestseller list feature. Starting early in February, they won't be publishing bestseller lists for graphic novels, mass market paperbacks, and certain lists for middle readers and young adults.

  • This story has developed since then.

  • Alexander Lu at Comics Beat asked the New York Times why this change was happening, and the Times responded that "the discontinued lists did not reach or resonate with many readers." Lu indicates that there may be some anti-comics sentiment inside the Times:

A source indicated to The Beat that Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review, was ultimately responsible for the policy shift. A recent tweet [by Paul] about John Lewis’, Andrew Aydin’s, and Nate Powell’s March began with “hey, kids” and called the comic a “children’s book.”
  • That aforementioned tweet is hopelessly ignorant about one of the most powerful autobiographical comics ever written. And it's unbearably condescending to Representative John Lewis, who is a bona fide hero for his civil rights activism:
  • Susana Polo at Polygon makes a great case about why the bestseller list mattered for comics:
Week after week, The New York Times best seller lists revealed that the American comics industry is anything but dominated by young adult men and the superhero comics they shove into plastic bags. Last week’s lists — which could now be the last ones The New York Times ever publishes — were topped with Ghosts, a female-led young adult coming-of-age story from perennial Times best seller Raina Tegelmeier, on the paperback side, and a graphic novel adaptation of science fiction grande dame Octavia Butler’s Kindred on the hardcover side.
  • And Calvin Reid at Publishers Weekly has an overview of how the publishing industry was blindsided by this decision, including lots of reaction interviews with publishers. If you only read one piece on all this, read this one.

  • Look, the newspaper industry is in trouble. Everyone knows it. But I cannot for the life of me figure out why newspaper leadership responds to budget cuts by slashing their arts coverage. The New York Times's Bestseller List is a trusted brand, one that conveys a special status to authors and publishers. It is an asset. For them to cut back on this at the same time that newspapers are trying to emphasize their value is a pretty stupid move.

  • It's obvious that Pamela Paul has no respect for comics as a medium. (In fact, I'm willing to bet that she considers it a genre and not a medium.) If this was her decision, I have no faith in her leadership at the New York Times. I can't for the life of me understand why you'd make your book review section even more elitist and condescending than it already was; it's like she's actively trying to turn readers away from the Times's book reviews. When they inevitably slice away even more books coverage at the Times, I bet they'll blame it on declining readership. And I also bet none of the blame for that declining readership will fall where it belongs: with Pamela Paul.

Book News Roundup: Our dystopian president

Since its initial publication, historians have debunked and raised concerns about numerous claims in Barton's book. In it, Barton calls Jefferson a "conventional Christian," claims the founding father started church services at the Capitol, and even though he owned more than 200 slaves, says Jefferson was a civil rights visionary..."When the concerns came in, from multiple people, and that had weight too, we were trying to sort things out," said Thomas Nelson Senior Vice President and Publisher Brian Hampton. "Were these matters of opinion? Were they differences of interpretation? But as we got into it, our conclusion was that the criticisms were correct. There were historical details — matters of fact, not matters of opinion, that were not supported at all."

Book News Roundup: All the books President Obama recommended

  • Young booksellers from around the country, including a few in Seattle, are launching Indies Forward, which Sydney Jarrard at Bookselling This Week calls "a new volunteer organization dedicated to cultivating, supporting, and sustaining the emerging generation of innovators and leaders in the bookselling industry." Jarrard continues:
Indies Forward, which will focus primarily on development, networking, and mentorship, will provide educational programming specifically tailored to new and emerging booksellers, on such topics as personal finance, management, and the economics of bookstores and publishing. The group plans to set up standalone networking events as well as in conjunction with regular industry gatherings so that younger booksellers will have a greater chance of being able to attend.

Book News Roundup: All the literary updates you need, from Beacon Hill to Bellingham

  • Over at the South Seattle Emerald, Alex Garland examines the impact of the Beacon Hill library's closure on the community. The library will be closed for several months for renovations.

  • Here's Yoshiko Yamamoto's poster for this year's Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair, which happens at Seattle Center on October 15th and 16th:

The money, however, has disappeared down a rabbit hole of private bank accounts and apparent shell companies registered to the same address in London. Almost a year since the fund's launch, Yiannopoulos is, for his part, reacting in a manner consistent with previous concerns around the fund's handling: by claiming paperwork for the fund is being processed and that the money will be disbursed at a later date.
  • Medium, the blogging service that has rapidly become both a popular longread supplement to Twitter and blog hosting platform for sites including The Awl and ThinkProgress, announced massive layoffs and office closures today. Seems they still don't know how to monetize words on the internet. And founder Ev Williams says the service is considering new ways to pay writers for their work, but his comments are so vague that they should provide absolutely no consolation for writers anywhere. Williams writes, "It is too soon to say exactly what this will look like. This strategy is more focused but also less proven." I take this as Silicon Valley-ese for "we have no idea what we're doing."

  • Bellingham's terrific independent bookstore Village Books is now officially under new management.

Book News Roundup: Seattle booksellers get bonuses, Penguin Random House employees get the shaft

  • Mary Ann Gwinn at the Seattle Times says that seven local booksellers from University Book Store, Third Place Books, Elliott Bay Book Company, Liberty Bay Books, Village Books, and Eagle Harbor Book Company have won "bookseller bonuses" from ridiculously wealthy author James Patterson.

  • Well, here's a disgusting bit of year-end fuckery: Penguin Random House, the large publisher that formed when Penguin merged with Random House, "has derecognised the National Union of Journalists and Unite for collective bargaining with its management," according to The Bookseller, which reports the move has left staff "nervous." Over 140 authors have signed a letter asking Penguin Random House to rethink this anti-labor position. All readers, authors, librarians, and booksellers should stand with Penguin Random House's union; we need more unions in this world, and if the somewhat civilized leaders of the publishing industry can't recognize the dignity of their employees, what hope does that offer anyone else?

  • E-book news site Tele-Read has recently stopped paying freelancers and so it is now running less news. Publisher David Rothman blames Google and Facebook for "siphon[ing] ads from us and burden[ing] us with bureaucratic requirements" for photos and content.

  • You should read Kevin Nguyen's year-end roundup and complaint about literary whiteness at the Millions. A taste:

...if you think Book Twitter is white, try going to a book event. These are almost exclusively white spaces, and being a person of color in them has become increasingly anxiety inducing. You drink with familiar people and strangers and just wait for someone to say something kinda fucked up to ruin your night. Just because my last name is Nguyen doesn’t mean I want to talk about Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer. I am not interested in hearing you talk about how attractive an Asian-American debut novelist is. And for the last time, as much as I love Ed Park, we really, really do not look alike.

Book News Roundup: The season of lists is upon us

Book News Roundup: It's time to get to know Ted Chiang

  • Seattle-area writer Ted Chiang has long been one of the local sci-fi community's best-kept secrets. Just about every Seattle sci-fi writer worth their salt counts Chiang as one of their favorite writers, but his work has not garnered larger acclaim. That's all about to change: one of Chiang's short stories is about to be adapted into an upcoming film called Arrival starring Amy Adams that is attracting a lot of pre-release buzz.The Wall Street Journal published a great little profile of Chiang yesterday that you should read.
“He’s got a really good mix of humanity and science, unlike some writers,” said Ellen Datlow, the editor who acquired “Tower of Babylon,” the first story of Mr. Chiang’s to be published, for Omni magazine in 1990.
  • While we're talking about Seattle-area writers, Electric Lit published a long interview with Elissa Washuta that you should read.

  • So this is kind of creepy: according to GeekWire, at Amazon's brick-and-mortar bookstore, you're apparently only able to buy books on discount if you're an Amazon Prime customer. If you're not on Prime, you pay full list price.

  • Greta Van Susteren has a bad opinion about the cost of colleges. Rather than cutting the ridiculously expensive stadiums or coaches' salaries, she seems to think libraries are making colleges too damn expensive:

  • On that last item, let's be clear: books are an investment in education, and they are non-negotiable. In fact, eliminating library books from a college would disproportionately harm low-income students who might not have the technology needed for ebooks. This is clearly an idea that was not at all thought through.

Book News Roundup: Subscribe to Moss, get book club advice, and prepare for the dark and gritty funny papers

Penguin wrongly lost confidence in the power of the printed word and invested “unwisely” amid the rise of eBooks, one of the company’s bosses has admitted.
  • Novelist Brit Bennett, whose new novel The Mothers is one of the most buzzed-about books of the fall, wrote a guest post for Seattle Public Library about the importance of libraries in her life.

  • Speaking of the Seattle Public Library, librarian Misha Stone was on KING 5 the other day talking about book clubs. — what makes book clubs work, what books book clubs are reading these days, and so on It's definitely worth your time:

Book News Roundup: Is Amazon getting into the convenience store business?

  • Jean Riley wrote a great roundup of the state of independent bookselling in Seattle for Seattle Magazine.
The past few decades have been challenging for independent bookstores, with each decade seeming to bring on a new threat: First, there were the huge chains that dominated the retail landscape. Then, there was the shift to online shopping, followed by the invention of electronic–reading devices. And now, the entry of Amazon into brick-and-mortar territory with its first store in Seattle. Yet despite some trepidation expressed by area booksellers leading up to Amazon’s store opening last year, the indie scene here is undergoing a quiet renaissance, as evidenced by the spring opening of Third Place Books in Seward Park, bookstore buyouts and one of the most successful Independent Bookstore Days the city has experienced.
  • Speaking of Amazon and brick-and-mortar stores: is Amazon really getting into the convenience store business? Apparently, the online retailer is planning on shops that would function like the"bodegas and convenience stores found in larger cities, offering customer the ability to quickly purchase both perishable and non-perishable products, like milk, meats, peanut butter, and other items." It's unclear if they'd carry books, too.

  • Here's a time-lapse video of the New York Public Library's Reading Room as staff prepare it for its grand re-opening after renovations:

Book News Roundup: The publishing industry is changing too slowly

  • Flavorwire reports on a Publishers Weekly report on the publishing industry. The bottom line: "Publishing Makes 'Little Progress' in Diversity, Remains Extremely White." This is not good enough.

  • And there's more bad news in the PW report, including the fact that women in publishing are still paid less than men. Boo.

  • This came in too late for me to add to the readings calendar this week, but you should be advised that the Words West reading series will take place tomorrow night at C&P Coffee Company in West Seattle. The very special guests at this reading will be Tod Marshall, Washington State's Poet Laureate, and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who will share her favorite poem.This reading will also debut "a new library featuring a book by every author who has read at WordsWest." This is a super-cool idea.

  • Do you know any teenagers who love making comics? You should direct them to the All City Comics Club, which is hosted by local comics superstar David Lasky and which takes place at the Bureau of Fearless Ideas. Here, have a flier:

Book News Roundup: Bruce Springsteen's book tour is coming to Seattle

  • Bruce Springsteen is doing a reading tour for his new memoir, and he'll be reading at Elliott Bay Book Company on October 1st. Expect a madhouse. Tickets are here.

  • Wordstock, Portland's annual literary festival, has announced their 2016 lineup, which will take place on November 5th. Highlights include Seattle authors like Maria Semple, Lindy West, and Sherman Alexie, along with national authors like Colson Whitehead, Yaa Gyasi, and Nicholson Baker.

  • I interviewed director Jeff Feuerzeig onstage at SIFF this summer about his new documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story. One of the questions I asked had to do with the many phone calls in the documentary: Laura Albert, who pretended to be an author named JT LeRoy for years, recorded all her phone calls, seemingly without the other callers' permission. Many of those recordings are in the film. I didn't record the onstage interview so I don't have Feuerzeig's response handy, but he stood by his film and his treatment of the recordings. This New York Times story indicates that others are unhappy with the very existence of the tapes:

For some people who reviewed transcripts from “Author” provided by The New York Times, the revelation years after the fact that Ms. Albert had been covertly recording phone calls was yet another deception in a trail of mendacity that extended to the late 1990s and early 2000s, when JT LeRoy published “Sarah,” a novel about a 12-year-old truck-stop prostitute, and “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things,” linked short stories about an abused boy.