* The American Humanist Association has named Joyce Carol Oates Humanist of the Year.
* A long-lost typescript of The Good Earth - which may have been stolen - has been found and turned over to the FBI.
* J.M. Coetzee is among the authors who have lent their names to a proposed worldwide reading in protest of the regime of Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe.
* Is the "Rock Novel" the third rail of literature?
* Amos Oz has been awarded the prestigious 2007 Prince of Asturias Award for Letters.
The prize recognises international excellence in fields ranging from sports to science.
Oz helped found Israel's Peace Now pacifist movement in 1978 after fighting for the Israeli Defence Force in the 1967 Six Day War and 1973 Yom Kippur War.
* In other prize action, Elena Poniatowska has won the Romulo Gallegos literature prize for her book El Tren Pasa Primero (The Train Passes First).
* And in still more prize news, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's deserved hot streak continues with her nomination for the James Tait Black Memorial prize.
* Salon takes a look at the ongoing fallout from the AMS bankruptcy.
* As our revisions continue, we kinda know how Elie Wiesel feels. (Are we allowed to say that?)
* Stuart Walton suggests some literary inspiration for Tony Blair as he exits 10 Downing
The reported death of Falstaff in Henry V, told among his lowliest friends outside a London tavern, is of a troubled but reconciled valediction to a world run out of temptations. Not sack nor women, nor the God to whom he cries out, quite comfort the old hellraiser after "the King hath kill'd his heart". Nonetheless, there is a celebrated dignity in his passing, a dignity only enhanced by the fact that Shakespeare spares us the sight of it.Street.
* In this interview, Amy Tan talks about bouncing back from Lyme Disease and continuing on with a novel-in-progress.
* Amid the brouhaha surrounding Salman Rushdie's knighthood, Andrew Anthony offers this consideration at the Guardian.
It's easy to attack the retailers for their failings, but The Satanic Verses affair has shown that there are plenty of other people, including writers themselves, whose support for literature cannot be relied upon. Not just ridiculous figures like Lord Ahmed, who said last week that he was 'appalled' by Rushdie's knighthood, though I suggest not quite as appalled as I am by Ahmed's peerage, because the author had 'blood on his hands'. Yes, that's right, not the demented Islamists who murdered Hitoshi Igarashi, the book's Japanese translator, and wounded the Italian translator and Norwegian publisher, and burned to death 37 Turkish intellectuals in a 1993 hotel attack in an attempt to kill Aziz Nesin, the Turkish translator. No, the blood is on Rushdie's hands, because he wrote a work of fiction.
* The auction of the typewriter purported to have been used by Christy Brown (My Left Foot) has been called off as relatives attest that he originally wrote the book in pencil.
* V.S. Naipaul, the crankiest man in modern letters, gives a brief interview to Reuters. More or less what you'd expect:
"I stopped reading contemporary writing with the last generation of writers, you know, the Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene kind of generation," he said.
* We always knew David Kipen would amount to something - the NEA's Big Read is the largest federal literature program since the days of the WPA.
* Note to Shannon Byrne - when we said the problem wasn't going away, this is exactly what we meant.
* In the Late-to-Link Department, do check out Carlin Romano's profile of Michael Ondaatje.
"It allowed me to write full time if I wanted to write full time," he says of The English Patient. "It was a kind of gift. You don't want to waste it, you know? It allowed me to write the kind of book I really felt should be written."
By that he means The English Patient didn't drive him to write with an eye to the movies, or, he jokes, "The Return of The English Patient." Books, he says, "are very, very different from film. If I tried to write a book that was a film, it wouldn't interest me at all." His attitude after The English Patient's box-office triumph, he insists, was, "Let me write the next book so that it can only be told as a book. Otherwise, why not just write a screenplay?"
* And, finally, you can get the same first-rate advice we get from our first-rate agent Simon Lipskar - and you don't have to pay commission to get it:
So, should you throw yourself wholeheartedly into becoming a world-class marketer of your books? Should you begin writing a daily blog that’s pithy and brilliant and specific enough about a certain topic to begin attracting readers and then holding their attention? Maybe. But, remember: as an author, your most valuable commodity is time, and this stuff takes time, and lots of it.