Memo to Writers: Please Stop Dying!

Writer Roy Clarke has been kicked out of Zambia. The cause? Calling President Levy Mwanawasa a “foolish elephant” and two ministers “baboons.” Apparently, Fleet Street tactics don’t get you far in Africa.

Philip Pullman’s trilogy is now a six-hour play. But its staging hasn’t been without controversy. A few febrile fans have planned to picket the theatres. But if playwright Nicholas Wright “includes the Tom Bombadil scene,” the production should be in the clear.

Pulitzer winner John Toland has died at 91. In addition to writing Hitler: A Bigass Biography to Demolish All Bigass Hitler Biographies, Toland won the 1971 Pulitzer for The Rising Sun, which covered the Japanese Empire during the same time period. A few other people who departed from this earth over the weekend: Barbara Jeffris and L.A. underworld novelist Douglas Anne Munson.

And David Kipen has a nice tribute to the recently late John Gregory Dunne.

I’ll try and scoop up more news later, but, as all of you nursing vacation hangovers should know by now, today involves something of a shift back into gangly routine. And it’s probably more abrasive than casually replacing your bar of soap with Brill-O-Pad. In the meantime, why not try some of the folks on the left, many of whom are returning back to their respective perches?