Amazon Publishing announced today a new biography series that will be available through the Kindle platform. According to the press release, the series — to be called "Icons" — will be "written by a range of celebrated authors, [and] the books will focus on canonical figures in the culture, both historical and contemporary." The first ten subjects will be Jesus, Josef Stalin, Lucian Freud, J.D. Salinger, Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, and Hannah Arendt.
It's worth noting that Amazon could only come up with one woman for the inaugural list. The editors, James Atlas and Ed Park, are also only working with two female authors — Anne Heller will pen the Arendt biography, and Phoebe Hoban will tackle Freud. Amazon admitted it's not limiting the series to one specific time period, so there's really no reason why the publisher couldn't commission a few more works on female subjects. Amazon at first did not respond to The Atlantic Wire's request for comment. Now we have a statement from Atlas: “We set out to find writers who were passionate about their subjects and we were conscious of building a diverse list. We never intended to fill a specific quota, but I can tell you that the next two books in the series are in contract with women writers, one of them writing on an iconic woman.”
The series will kick off with Jesus by Jay Parini and will be available bi-monthly beginning in December.
Photo of Hannah Arendt in 1969, via AP.