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Ben Okri wins Bad Sex in Fiction Award with 'rocket went off' metaphor


Author Ben Okri can add a new entry to his long list of esteemed accomplishments: the Bad Sex in Fiction Award.


On the Books: 'In Cold Blood' case files to be published

- Since its 1966 debut, Truman Capote’s chilling true-crime classic In Cold Blood has been regarded as the original “nonfiction novel”—a revelation in literature that combined the factuality of journalism with the literary finesse of fiction. But a recent claim made by the son of the man who investigated the real-life murder case indicates that Capote may have taken more artistic license in writing the account than previously thought. READ FULL STORY

On the Books: New Toni Morrison novel coming in April 2015

-45 years after Toni Morrison, 83, published her groundbreaking debut The Bluest Eye in 1970, the visionary author’s 12th novel will hit shelves. Set to be published by Knopf in April 2014, God Help the Child will—like many of Morrison’s works—tell the story of a strong African American woman battling personal hardships and the social constructs of race. Knopf describes the book:

“Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the center: a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish…”

The bestselling writer of Song of Solomon (1977) has received accolades including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and Presidential Medal of Freedom over the course of her career. Just a couple of weeks ago, she sat down with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.


Lost letter that inspired 'On the Road' discovered, to go up for auction

Long thought to be a permanently lost part of literary history, the letter that inspired Jack Kerouac to write On the Road has not just been discovered, but it will also soon be available on the auction block.


On the Books: Jacqueline Woodson responds to Daniel Handler's slurs

Following his racist remarks at last month’s National Book Awards, author Daniel Handler—better known as Lemony Snicket—apologized and donated $110,000 to the We Need Diverse Books Indiegogo campaign. But until now, the subject of Handler’s jokes, children’s author Jacqueline Woodson, had remained silent. In Friday’s New York Times, Woodson responded to Handler’s comments, which mocked how her watermelon allergy related to her African-American heritage.

Woodson explains she and Handler have been friends for many years, and that she told him about her allergy last summer at Handler’s Cape Cod home. “I was astonished when he brought this up before the National Book Award audience — in the form of a wink-nudge joke about being black,” Woodson writes. “By making light of that deep and troubled history, he showed that he believed we were at a point where we could laugh about it all. His historical context, unlike my own, came from a place of ignorance.”

Using Handler’s jokes as an entry point, Woodson analyzes how the publishing industry and the books Americans read perpetuate the country’s ugly racial history. The author describes her mission to “write stories that have been historically absent in this country’s body of literature, to create mirrors for the people who so rarely see themselves inside contemporary fiction, and windows for those who think we are no more than the stereotypes they’re so afraid of.” [The New York Times] READ FULL STORY

A look inside the world of 'Bitch Planet' with Kelly Sue Deconnick

Eisner Award nominee Kelly Sue DeConnick knows a thing or two about making your work stand out. The author of acclaimed titles such as Captain Marvel, Pretty Deadly, and Avengers Assemble, DeConnick has a knack for creating stories and characters that resonate with readers. (Look no further than the Carol Corps, a passionate group of fans that sprung out of DeConnick’s re-invigoration of Marvel’s Carol Danvers.) Her latest project—Bitch Planet, out next week from Image Comics—is no exception.


Bill Cosby biographer will not revise his book, for now

-Bill Cosby biographer Mark Whitaker has decided that as of now he will not revise Cosby: His Life and Times, published in September, to include the numerous recent allegations of sexual assault against the comedian. Whitaker’s bio paints a sunny picture of Cosby. Last week he told the The Daily Beast that future editions may be revised. “Well, look, obviously the story has changed, and I’m going to have to address that in future editions of the book, if not sooner,” he said, adding, “If it happened, and it was a pattern, it’s terrible and really creepy.”

Yet Whitaker also appeared to defend his subject, citing his age and the scandal’s damage to his career. “He’s routinely called a rapist everywhere. That’s a big price.” On Monday, David Carr named Whitaker in a New York Times piece calling out Cosby’s “Media Enablers.” Whitaker tweeted in reponse: “I was wrong to not deal with the sexual assault charges against Cosby and pursue them more aggressively,” and “I am following new developments and will address them at the appropriate time. If true the stories are shocking and horrible.” [Publishers Weekly]


'Strong in every sense of the word': A Q&A with the creators of 'Strong Female Protagonist'


Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag had a problem. They were tired of the ways female characters were being portrayed in the majority of comics and science fiction/fantasy literature. They wanted to deliberately shatter some stereotypes with a story of their own—a story about a young woman who is strong in every sense of the word.


On the Books: Daniel Handler donating $110k to 'We Need Diverse Books' campaign

- Author Daniel Handler, better known by his pen name Lemony Snicket, announced his donation of a huge sum of money to the We Need Diverse Books Indiegogo campaign after apologizing for racially offensive comments he made while hosting the National Book Awards last week. Handler promised a $10,000 donation to the organization in a series of tweets—plus matching funds for donations made in the following 24 hours, up to $100,000. After apologizing for his “monstrously inappropriate” and “racist comments on Twitter, Handler wrote: “It would be heartbreaking for the conversation to focus on my behavior instead of great books. So can we do this?… Let’s donate to to … Brown Girl Dreaming is an amazing novel and we need more voices like Jacqueline Woodson.” Handler’s $100k pledge did not go unnoticed—donors rallied and amassed the funds within 24 hours. READ FULL STORY

Books of my life: Tavi Gevinson

Writer-editor-actress Tavi Gevinson is probably tired of discussing her age, but it’s worth noting that the 18-year-old is by far the youngest author to take EW’s Books of My Life survey. Jonathan Franzen and Hilary Mantel have done it in the past, and Gevinson, who is also featured in an EW Lightbulb interview this week, more than holds her own. Read on to learn what books have most influenced the phenom, editor of the newly published Rookie Yearbook Three, and star of Broadway’s This Is Our YouthREAD FULL STORY

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