The dress I’ll be going to the party in

I’m pleased to introduce the cover to my forthcoming novel, Necessary Errors, which will be published by Penguin as a paperback original and an e-book in August. The cover is visible at the top of the right-hand column of this webpage—it’s the one in light blue. If you click on it, or if you direct your browser to necessaryerrors.com, you’ll be led to a webpage for the book, hosted on this blog, which reprints the advance praise that a few early readers have been kind enough to send along.

Also, for the very curious, below is what the jacket for the advance reader’s copy looks like. It has what are known as French flaps, as the finished book will—though the finished book will look slightly different in other respects.

ARC jacket for Necessary Errors

The Counterpane

Angela Cockayne, Sleeping Sperm Whales: 19 sperm whales made from duvets

This morning you can find me online reading “The Counterpane,” chapter 4 of Moby-Dick. Ishmael wakes up in Queequeg’s arms, is startled to find his bedmate’s hard tomahawk between them, and is reminded of the time his step-mother caught him trying to go up the chimney.

The reading is part of the Moby-Dick Big Read, which invites 135 different readers—including Tilda Swinton, prime minister David Cameron, Chad Harbach, and Andrew Delbanco—to tackle a chapter of Herman Melville’s novel. The project is being organized by the writer Philip Hoare and the artist Angela Cockayne. Hoare is the author of The Whale, which recounts his lifelong, Melville-induced pursuit of the leviathan, and Cockayne, too, takes much inspiration from Melville’s novel (the photo above is of her work Sleeping Sperm Whales).

I feel very honored to take part. The Guardian notes that other readers include Benedict Cumberbarch, Will Self, and David Attenborough; the New York Times reports that John Waters and Stephen Fry are involved; and the Provincetown Wicked Local adds the names Fiona Shaw, Cerys Matthews, and Nathaniel Philbrick.

Penguin will publish my novel in 2013

I’m very happy to announce that Penguin will be publishing my novel Necessary Errors as a paperback original in 2013. My editor will be Allison Lorentzen; the deal was negotiated by Sarah Chalfant of the Wylie Agency.

The title comes from a phrase in an Auden poem. I haven’t yet quite risen to the challenge of saying what the novel is about; when asked, I murmur, “Youth,” and gesture vaguely and wistfully upward. But it’s probably too soon to say more to the world at large anyway. More news in a year or so!

Sybille Bedford centenary reading

In honor of Sybille Bedford’s centenary, I’ll be one of several writers and editors reading from her work at the Paris Review offices at 62 White Street in Manhattan tomorrow night, Thursday, March 24, at 6:30pm. Free and open to the public, if you RSVP.

If you aren’t already a fan of Bedford’s, please check out the appreciations of her at the Paris Review Daily by Brenda Wineapple and Lisa Cohen.