The winners of some of the 2014 PEN literary awards have been announced. The award for poetry went to Frank Bidart for Metaphysical Dog and the award for essay writing went to James Wolcott for Critical Mass. Linda Leavell won the biography award for Holding on Upside Down, about the poet Marianne Moore. The big prize for debut fiction writing will be announced in September. [The Washington Post]
A Jury awarded former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in a defamation suit against deceased Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. In his 2012 book American Sniper, Kyle wrote that Ventura hated Navy SEALs and that he said they “deserved to lose a few.” Kyle didn’t identify Ventura by name in the book, but identified him later in a press conference. Ventura denied making the remarks. (He also served in the Navy during the Vietnam War.) Kyle died in 2013; Ventura sued his estate for damages and won.
The estate hasn’t announced if they plan to appeal the case. Outside of politics, Ventura has also worked as an actor (Predator, Demolition Man) and WWE commentator. [NPR]
Emory University acquired Salman Rushdie’s archive, and in addition to his papers, they have all of his old hard drives. The digital nature of his archives—and that of so many other authors—poses problems when it comes to making everything compatible to newer computer formats. It’s also a fascinating experience: “Rushdie’s digital archive, in its old Mac setting, contains the usual ephemera of his life: bank statements, newspaper articles, drafts of stories, at least one screenplay, and even folders called ‘NAMES FOR NEW CHILD’ and ‘Puppet Motel Folder.’ These digital things come with their own form of marginalia, some of which have presumably been collected in the ‘STICKIES1999′ folder. There is even a ‘Games’ folder, so you can see what Rushdie was playing while working under a fatwa.” [The New Yorker]
In the past year, the amount of books given as gifts fell by 9 million in the UK. [BBC]
Two of The Fault in Our Stars author John Green’s other books have stirred up some controversy recently: Pasco County, Florida, removed Paper Towns from its eighth grade reading list, and in Waukesha, Wisconsin, there’s a movement to ban Green’s Looking for Alaska as well. [L.A. Times]