Swati Khurana talks with novelist and translator Idra Novey about the challenges and joys of translation, the idiosyncrasies of language, the inextricable reception of women's writing and women's bodies, and much more. ...more
As an editor of color, one advantage I have is that writers of color are comfortable knowing I’m not asking for edits to artificially enhance or to cover up their race. It’s not weird to me that their characters look like them....more
Whereas I once was “Abby, the girl who harbored a ridiculous but harmless amount of love for that weird ’80s singer, Annie Lennox,” I was now suddenly “Abby, the girl most parents might want their teenage children to avoid.” ...more
The Read Along is a new column that offers a glimpse into the reading habits of real-life writers. Our first installment features Kelsey Miller, author of the memoir Big Girl and columnist at Refinery29. ...more
With its trope of the hard-boiled, male detective, noir literature has historically had an inclusion problem. At Electric Literature, Nicholas Seeley discusses its burgeoning revival as protest literature against injustice:
Today it has a second chance—assuming it continues to draw in and cultivate new and challenging voices. This is already starting: I’m thrilled to see a growing number of bleak and hard-hearted crime stories being created by and about women. (I don’t have numbers, but I believe women have long been better represented in mystery and crime writing than in many other genres—noir and hard-boiled, though, were hold-outs, a last clubhouse for the “man’s men.”)
The YA novel The Face on The Milk Carton has marked a thrilling yet disturbing rite of passage for many young readers over the past 25 years, iconic right down to its simple, haunting cover—which many of those readers could easily conjure from memory. Mallory Ortberg, literary comedian and maestro of The Toast, was one such affected and writes about the book’s characters with a keen eye for their shortcomings and a fierce protectiveness over Janie.
Jennifer Ouellette reports on recent studies of Wikipedia’s editorial hierarchy. While the site was founded on democratic ideals, the reality has turned into something quite different:
Their analysis demonstrates that Wikipedia is actually quite conservative from an evolutionary standpoint: it preserves those aspects that worked early on. As the community added new members and grew rapidly, 89 percent of the core norms stayed the same. Nobody ever overthrows an existing norm, and nobody creates a new norm that becomes as dominant as the original core norms. If a particular norm was important in 2001, chances are it was still important in 2015.
World Intellectual Property Day, the greatest of all spring holidays, was this Tuesday, April 26th. In honor of the holiday, the UK’s Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe made a statement calling for an update in the legal concept, Billboard reports:
The process of digitization has transformed the world around us at a furious pace. It has revolutionized the way we work; the way we interact; and the way we shop… The creative sector must be able to protect and benefit from intellectual property.
New motherhood: it’s common but totally strange, completely natural yet weirdly alien, a beautiful miracle and absolutely disgusting. It can also have some strong effects on a woman’s perception of self and identity, as Helen Phillips (The Beautiful Bureaucrat) explores brilliantly in her story “The Doppelgängers,” chosen by Lauren Groff at Recommended Reading this week.
Beyond the obvious identity change motherhood brings (i.e. now you’re a mother), it also carries with it a thousand small tortures that could break lesser humans (*ahem* men), a beautiful bond that can totally eclipse all other relationships (not necessarily in a good way), and entrée into an unknown secret world of nipple balms and diaper design flaws that can give one the impression of stepping into a darker, more twisted Narnia. In “Doppelgängers,” Phillips slides us through the wardrobe into this world and renders it in all its wonder and peril, with a necessary sense of humor:
While Sam was at work, Mimosa ran her fingers from the top of The Queen’s head all the way down her spine, again and again, an addiction. It was too much, this beauty, this responsibility. The Queen burped. The Queen stared wide-eyed at the corner of the room as though watching a ghost emerge from the wall. The Queen farted.
While one of these—grand mal seizures—overlaps with Sylvie’s, our conditions differ. Seizure causes, auras (the body’s precursory warning state), and severity leave room for infinite variety. Understanding epilepsy, then, requires letting go of certainty—something we epileptics do everyday.
Tomorrow, Independent Bookstore Day will mark its second year of celebrating independent bookstores nationwide, with literary parties around the country. In cities and towns throughout the country, participating independent bookstores will host unique literary parties, including readings, raffles, scavenger hunts, story times, music, food trucks, and literary trivia. Participating stores will also offer exclusive day-of merchandise created especially for Independent Bookstore Day by major publishers and authors.
To help kick off the celebrations, The Rumpus has an exclusive Q&A with Lauren Groff, 2016 Bookstore Day Author Ambassador and author of Fates and Furies, Arcadia, Delicate Edible Birds, and The Monsters of Templeton.(more…)
In the New Yorker, Richard Brody laments how little coverage there is of independent film in mainstream media. If film culture is to change for the better, he argues, critics need to step out of their comfort zone and focus less on wide releases:
It’s up to critics and editors to acknowledge what was already clear in 1969—the realm of movies, their substance and their distribution, has changed drastically, and the practice of criticism needs to catch up with it. What’s both stressful and great about this prospect is that it vastly expands the pool of movies at hand. Critics can no longer keep their heads down and look at a fixed and stable list of releases; they have to do some research and some extra viewing to determine what constitutes, in their eyes, the day’s notable releases.
It’s hard to imagine a book written entirely in emoji that isn’t just about the conceit of writing an entire book in emoji, perhaps marketed as an Urban Outfitters coffee table book for guests to alternately smirk and groan at. And yet, as many digital natives know, emojis can be used in complicated and highly affective ways. At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tim Peters, analyzing the work of artist Xu Bing, suggests that the emoji—or the emoticon and its many visual cousins—is coming into its own as a new and fruitful form of storytelling:
This is a kind of fiction writing that resembles prose and resembles comics but is neither the one nor the other. It’s a synthesis, and one which was made available at this historical moment because of the personal computer and digital graphics.
John D’Agata, visionary champion of the essay and master anthologizer, sees the lyric form “partake of the poem in its density and shapeliness, it’s distillation of ideas and musicality of language.” He also sees it as unbound to conventional notions of truth. Writing for Harper’s, Elaine Blair critiques the genre-bending, exploratory practices of writers like David Shields, Anne Carson, Lydia Davis, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Maggie Nelson. She leaves us with the question, “Can everything be filtered through the talking ‘I’?”
There was no denying it, Athena was lost. She had walked the road to Deasey Castle for many years, but now, no matter what road she took, the glorious castle spires were no closer.
Escape the never-ending political sideshow for some fun fictional role-playing and follow Athena Kindness, warrior and opportunistic people-pleaser, through selections of her tumultuous journey to the castle on top of the hill, written by Wayne Gladstone over at McSweeney’s.