Round-Up: Shakespeare, Joe Biden, and North Korean Fiction


From a newly discovered source of Shakespeare scholarship to a collection of North Korean short stories, here’s the latest literary news:

  • A notebook containing the writings of what could potentially be the world’s first Shakespeare scholar appeared on a recent episode of Antiques Roadshow. The notebook, written by “what is almost certainly a seventeenth-century hand” according to appraiser Matthew Haley, contains quotes from either live performances or the earliest printed editions of Shakespeare’s plays. Haley said that the notebook holds “enormous scholarly value” and estimated its worth at over thirty-seven thousand dollars. 
  • Former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama recently signed book deals with Penguin Random House; now former Vice President Joe Biden has made a deal of his own. Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan, has acquired the rights to publish two upcoming nonfiction books by Biden and a third co-written with his wife, former Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Flatiron has not yet commented on the arrangements of the deal, which is rumored to be worth eight million dollars. 
  • A short story collection smuggled out of North Korea sheds light on the struggles of the nation’s citizens. Titled The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea, the collection features stories about the “normal life of North Korean citizens, and it is very frightening,” according to activist Do Hee-Youn, who helped smuggle the manuscript out of the country. “This book shows that they live like slaves.” The Accusation was initially published in Korean in 2014 and is currently available in nineteen languages.

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