- Donald Hall, who published poems in our first issue, has taken to the Concord Monitor to excoriate a senator in verse: “Get out of town, / You featherheaded carpetbagging Wall St. clown, / Scott Brown!”
- Today in crass commodification: New Balance is releasing a series of shoes based on great American lit. “No one captures the essence, spirit, and the American experience better than American authors and the stories they have told throughout history. For the Made in USA Authors Collections, we pay homage to great American authors by building a collection inspired by their stories and moments.” The shoes are three hundred dollars a pair and “aren’t specifically tied to an author’s name.”
- “The history of the professional executioner is a chronicle of perfecting the choreography of death. It’s a story of exacting skill and the never-ending search for a more efficient means to enact (and contain) the spectacle of death.”
- Bob Silvers talks to The Guardian about the New York Review of Books, which is to be the subject of a new documentary by Martin Scorsese.
- No plans this weekend? Paint your actuary! “It might seem strange that an artist would lavish such care on the nuts and bolts of something so mundane, like a poet writing couplets about a corporate expense report. But … accounting paintings were a significant genre in Dutch art.”
- Paavo Anselm Alexis Hollo, a prolific and accomplished poet, critic, and translator, has died at seventy-eight.
- J. D. Salinger once wrote a biographer that he had “borne all the exploitation and loss of privacy I can possibly bear in a single lifetime.” Luckily for him, he won’t be around for the upcoming biography by David Shields and Shane Salerno, released by Simon & Schuster in September.
- Courier font has been perfected. Meet Courier Prime, if you dare.
- Robert Silvers, at lunch with the FT, talks editing, Zadie, and keeping the Pentagon Papers at the NYRB offices.
- “It became clear that we were building a utopian alternate-universe bestseller list—a syllabus for readers who are curious about the best transgressive, funny, gripping memoir and fiction written by every kind of person other than heterosexual men.” On the founding of Emily Books.
On April 3, Robert Silvers accepted the Paris Review’s Hadada Prize for a strong and unique contribution to literature. These were his remarks.
When something like this evening happens, you ask how you got here, and I thought back to the autumn of 1954, when I was a soldier at NATO military headquarters—called SHAPE—near Paris. One of the best things about working there was that, by some international understanding, practically everyone had Wednesday afternoon off—you could go to the Louvre, you could go to the Café de Flore. And there, one Wednesday afternoon, at the kiosk in front of the Flore, I bought a copy of The Paris Review and took it back to our international barracks at Rocquencourt and read it in my bunk. I thought I should know more about it.
When people hear that one works at The Paris Review, they often assume it’s a glamorous affair: parties, champagne, stories of the magazine’s early days in France, and famous writers as far as the eye can see. Last Tuesday, they were right.
The Spring Revel isn’t just our big fund-raiser. It’s also a chance for the old guard to meet the new kids and vice versa. This year, former editor Mona Simpson presented newcomer Amie Barrodale with the Plimpton Prize, and young Adam Wilson—winner of the Terry Southern Prize for humor—paid tribute to Southern himself. Robert Silvers, now in his fiftieth year helming The New York Review of Books, was toasted by the freshest face in the magazine business: Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, who bought The New Republic a month ago. Zadie Smith described what it’s like being a new kid at The New York Review, and Bob remembered being a new kid under George Plimpton. Read More
Our Spring Revel will take place on April 3. In anticipation of the event, the Daily is featuring a series of essays celebrating Robert Silvers, who is being honored this year with The Paris Review’s Hadada Prize.
My first encounter with Robert Silvers was with his sonorous and elegant voice, with its precise, slightly British diction. It must be said that most of my encounters over the years have been with the voice rather than the man, as we’ve met in person only a few times.
I first heard the voice in the summer of 1988. Back in the States after my first year of graduate school at Cambridge University, I somehow landed a job in the advertising department at The New York Review of Books. I can’t imagine I came by it entirely honestly, but I have no recollection of whose kindness may have opened the door. This was at the old address, 250 West Fifty-seventh Street, where entering the offices felt somehow like slipping in a back door, because you were immediately dwarfed by books. Mountainous, heavily laden shelves overhung the narrow, dark corridors, and people scurried quietly among them as if in fear—fear, I always thought, that like Leonard Bast they would be crushed by knowledge.
In the several months I worked in those offices—in the domain of Catherine Tice, at the elbow of a brassily confident assistant named Kim—I never laid eyes on either Bob or Barbara. (I had, on the other hand, many mad and wonderful conversations with the late Bob Tashman, who roved the office with apparently much time on his hands and who, although balding, had an impressive corona of hair emerging from his shirt collar. His long-worked-upon American Decameron, alas, we will never now see.) Bob and Barbara’s offices were down long tributaries of the book-lined hallways, unenterable by the likes of me. But I did, upon occasion, hear the magical voice. It was like hearing the Wizard of Oz. Whether he was speaking on the telephone or to an assistant, his interlocutors were inaudible, the authority of his inflections absolute, and his physical presence purely notional. Read More
On Tuesday, April 3, The Paris Review will honor two of our favorite young writers.
Amie Barrodale will receive the Review’s Plimpton Prize for “Wiliam Wei,” which appeared in our Summer issue.
Adam Wilson will receive the second Terry Southern Prize for Humor for his story “What’s Important Is Feeling” and his contributions to The Paris Review Daily.
The Plimpton Prize for Fiction is a $10,000 award given to a new voice published in The Paris Review. The prize is named for the Review’s longtime editor George Plimpton and reflects his commitment to discovering new writers of exceptional merit. The winner is chosen by the Board of the Review. This year’s prize will be presented by Mona Simpson.
The Terry Southern Prize for Humor is a $5,000 award recognizing wit, panache, and sprezzatura in work published by The Paris Review or online by the Daily. Perhaps best known as the screenwriter behind Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider—and the subject of an interview in issue 200!—Terry Southern was also a satirical novelist, a pioneering New Journalist, and a driving force behind the early Paris Review. Comedian David Cross will present this year’s award.
The honoree of this year’s Revel is Robert Silvers. Zadie Smith will present Silvers with the 2012 Hadada, the Review’s lifetime achievement award recognizing a “strong and unique contribution to literature.” Previous recipients of the Hadada include James Salter, John Ashbery, Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton (posthumously), Barney Rosset, Philip Roth, and William Styron.
Come help us celebrate our honorees and our two hundredth issue—and support the Review. Buy your Revel tickets now!