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Friday News: Authors United to call on the DOJ, Amtrak’s Writers Residency project, Olivia Pope’s popularity, and more banned books to read

Friday News: Authors United to call on the DOJ, Amtrak’s Writers...

According to Preston, a letter addressed to William Baer, assistant attorney general for antitrust, has been drawn up and calls for a closer look at Amazon’s practices. News of the letter, said Preston, was leaked “very prematurely.” –Publishers Weekly

Amtrak is excited to announce the selection of 24 members of the literary community as the first group of writers to participate in the #AmtrakResidency program. Over the next year, they will work on writing projects of their choice in the unique workspace of a long-distance train. The 24 residents offer a diverse representation of the writing community and hail from across the country. –Amtrak

These new Olivias are popping up around two years after Scandal premiered in 2012. That was the same year The Atlantic‘s huge Anne-Marie Slaughter cover story “Why Women Can’t Have It All,” a dissection of what happens when women’s professional and family lives intersect, was widely discussed. We’re still having conversations about the issues raised in Slaughter’s essay, but it’s important to remember what spurred her into writing the essay: she was sick of watching young women being duped into believing a fairytale. . . .

Olivia Pope offers a different option. She’s fully aware of not being to able to have it all. (In her case, the stakes are soapier, since “having it all” involves sleeping with the president.) Instead, Olivia shows us that there’s nothing wrong with trying to have everything that she can.


Monday News: B&N entertains a new purchase offer, Alice Hoffman talks about her favorite books, the Jenner sisters enter the YA market, and Amtrak creates the first writers residency on a train

Monday News: B&N entertains a new purchase offer, Alice Hoffman talks...

Private Equity Firm Wants to Buy B&N for $22 a Share – It was reported on Friday that a small private investment firm floated an offer to acquire what amounts to 51% of their stock for approximately $22 a share (almost $700M total). G Asset Management apparently wants to separate Nook from the rest of the business. Although Nate Hoffelder updated his post with a report that the firm did not have the capital to actually do the deal, it’s not the first time they’ve offered:

If you’ve been following bookselling news for any length of time then G Asset Management is a name you might recognize; they made a similar offer in 2012. At that time they wanted a 51% interest in B&N College, the division that runs college bookstores. That deal fell through, with B&N instead choosing to form Nook Media by combining the Nook unit and B&N College, and selling a chunk to Microsoft and Pearson. –The Digital Reader

Alice Hoffman: By the Book – There are so many gems in this interview with Alice Hoffman. From her perspective on Wuthering Heights, to her defense of SF/F (does anyone really disparage these genres anymore, though?), to her recommendations for formative reading, this is an interesting piece. What especially caught my eye Hoffman’s description of herself as a “fantastical escapist writer:”

What kind of reader were you as a child? And what were your favorite childhood books?

I was a fanatical escapist reader, as I am now a fanatical escapist writer. I always had a book with me, no matter what, on the bus, in line for the movies. I still love to read the same books I loved as a child. Anything written by Edward Eager, especially “Half Magic”; the Borrowers series; “Mary Poppins.” Grimms’ fairy tales, so psychologically true a child reader intuits their deeper personal meaning. Those fairy tale themes are at the heart of many of my own books. –The New York Times

Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s Book Cover Revealed—Get the First Look at Rebels: City of Indra! – Yeah, yeah, I know; who cares that Kylie and Kendall Jenner are writing a Young Adult novel. What I think is interesting about this particular book, though, is that it’s being published by what seems to be a small publishing/branding house, Karen Hunter Publishing, which the website describes as belonging to the Suitt-Hunter Media Group, which “works with celebrities and emerging artists, identifying opportunities to expand the individual’s brand into ancillary markets.” Although the E! article indicated that Hunter was from Simon and Schuster, that does not seem to be the case, according to their website. In fact, the focus of the publisher/branding house seems to be on African American talent, and on projects “that are sometimes too “left of center” for major houses and their conservative approach to publishing.” As for the Jenner sisters’ book:

According to the publisher, the novel presents “a thrilling dystopian story about two super-powered girls, Lex and Livia, who embark on a journey together, not realizing their biggest danger might be each other.” –E! Online

Inside Amtrak’s (Absolutely Awesome) Plan to Give Free Rides to Writers – In what began as a Twitter-expressed wish by Jessica Gross, Amtrak created the first writer’s residency by train. Upon responding to Gross with an offer to let her do a “test run,” Amtrak recommended Gross rid the Lake shore Limited from New York City to Chicago and back to New York City, and all they asked for was some tweeting en route and an interview with the Amtrak blog once she finished her trip. Gross ultimately wrote about the adventure for an article in The Paris Review and Amtrak is currently pondering options for a more permanent program. As to who would qualify for a writer’s residency aboard an Amtrak train,

In other words, how will Amtrak decide who to send on its residencies? In the short term, as the program gets off the ground, candidates will be selected on a case-by-case basis. Quinn said that residents won’t “necessarily just [be] published authors, or people with multiple books under their belt, or [people that had] a publication tap them.” Amtrak, Quinn said, is open to people with a variety of writing backgrounds, because “the differences between a journalist, a published author, a blogger – those lines are continually blurred by the internet.” –The Wire