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Politics and publishing: Authors respond to troubling Trump times

From AP and WiG reports

Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Diaz, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Jane Smiley are among 32 writers contributing to a book of letters responding to the election of President Donald Trump.

Vintage Books told The Associated Press on Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times will be published May 2 as a paperback original.

“The anthology offers readers an antidote to despair: it is a salve, a balm, a compass, a rallying cry, a lyrical manifesto, a power source, a torch to light the way forward,” Vintage announced.

Edited by Carolina De Robertis, the book will be divided into three sections. “Roots” will explore the historical origins of this time. “Present” will feature letters addressed to contemporary communities. “Seeds” will look ahead to future generations. Other writers will include Karen Joy Fowler, Claire Messud and Lisa See.

Radical Hope continues a wave of releases from the publishing world since Trump’s stunning upset last November of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

What Do We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America is a January release from Melville House that features suggestions for action from Gloria Steinem, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and George Saunders.

Gene Stone’s The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen is another January publication, from Dey Street Books.

Piers Morgan, J.K. Rowling in Twitter fight over politics

British TV personality Piers Morgan and British author J.K. Rowling are in a Twitter war over U.S. politics.

He called her work “drivel” and she called him “amoral” after Morgan defended the U.S. government’s travel ban during an appearance on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

Morgan faced off with Australian comic Jim Jefferies on the episode during a discussion of the executive order. Morgan said it was “not a Muslim ban,” and Jefferies directed an expletive at him.

Rowling tweeted that it was “satisfying” to hear Jefferies say that.

A flurry of tweets between Rowling and Morgan followed.

‘Hamilton’ author Chernow has Grant bio coming in fall

Ron Chernow, the historian who helped inspire the musical Hamilton, has a biography of Ulysses S. Grant coming out in October.

Penguin Press is calling the book Grant and plans to release it Oct. 17.

Chernow’s previous book, Washington: A Life, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011.

His 2004 work on Alexander Hamilton was the basis for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning Broadway smash, for which Chernow served as historical consultant.

Chernow’s new book will likely be the most high-profile effort yet to change the reputation of the country’s 18th president. As Penguin noted in its press release, Grant has been “caricatured as a chronic loser and inept businessman,” a drunk whose Civil War heroism was overshadowed by his legacy as a “credulous and hapless president whose tenure came to symbolize the worst excesses of the Gilded Age.”

Grant’s competence is even challenged on the White House web site, www.whitehouse.gov. His biographical essay, which has been on the site for years, contends that “When he was elected, the American people hoped for an end to turmoil. Grant provided neither vigor nor reform.”

But writers ranging from Ta-Nehisi Coates to the historian Jean Edward Smith have argued that Grant is an underrated and even heroic president. Their defense of him extends from the same issue that led early critics, many sympathetic to former confederates, to denounce him: His determination to enforce equal rights for blacks in the South after the Civil War. According to Penguin, Chernow will address Grant’s drinking and other flaws, but within a “grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant’s life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.”

Faking it: Jake Tapper writing debut novel

Jake Tapper is working on a book that you could call fake news: It’s his debut novel.

The CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent has a thriller scheduled to come out in the summer of 2018.

The novel is called The Hellfire Club, set in Washington, D.C., in 1954.

The story centers on a young congressman from New York, his zoologist wife and the mysterious car accident that takes them to an “underworld of secret deals” and “secret societies.”

Tapper said in a statement that his book would feature such historical figures as President Dwight Eisenhower, Sen. Joe McCarthy and then-Vice President Richard Nixon. His previous books include the nonfiction works The Outpost and Down & Dirty.

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