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Writing Homosexuality in Africa

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Within the past five years, we’ve seen a sea change in attitudes towards homosexuality by writers, in part a response to virulent anti-homosexual legislation in key locations. Writers such as Chimamanda Adichie and Binyavanga Wainaina have been very open about their personal views on homosexuality and have gone on to challenge and change how homosexuality and same-sex desire is represented in fiction.

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Fitzgerald Can Be Funny, Too

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The most recent issue of the Strand magazine includes a previously unpublished short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The story, titled “Temperature,” was discovered in the Princeton archives by the managing editor of Strand, Andrew Gulli, who described the manuscript as one of Fitzgerald’s more comedic works:

“When we think of Fitzgerald we tend to think of tragic novels he wrote such as Gatsby and Tender Is the Night, but Temperature shows that he was equally adept and highly skilled as a short story writer who was able to pen tales of high comedy,”Gulli told the Associated Press.

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In a World…

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With so many contemporary young adult novels taking place in dystopian settings, we’re beginning to wonder whether it’s even possible to come of age in a world that isn’t on the brink of collapse. Soon enough, paragon network of teenage melodrama The CW will adapt Little Women to the “dystopic streets of Philadelphia,” thereby robbing us of one of the last remaining relics of a time when children could grow up without reference to apocalypses past and present.

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Literary Redo

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Over at Lit Hub, Tobias Carroll takes a look at three recently reissued books (Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns, Genoa by Paul Metcalf, and A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin) trying again to seek out the success they deserve based on merits of exemplary craft and wonderful stories, and meditates on all these authors can offer in their previously overlooked works and what makes literary reissues so appealing.

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Notable Los Angeles: 8/3–8/9

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Monday 8/3: It’s the first Monday of the month, which means it’s time for another Speakeasy/Open Mic Night! You’ve spent countless hours muttering to yourself as you tried to fix that line of dialogue, now it’s time to say it out loud in front of a supportive audience.

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Weekend Rumpus Roundup

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In the Saturday Essay, Gila Lyons laments Asif Kapadia’s portrayal of Amy Winehouse in the documentary, Amy, and contrasts the film with the recent biopic of Kurt Cobain. The gender-based double standard is alive and well here. Women are still being objectified and martyred by the media.

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Canon Cannon

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Begone, Wordsworth!

The Times‘s Sunday Book Review brought in acclaimed writers James Parker and Francine Prose to answer the question: who should be kicked out of the literary canon? They responded by offering some lovely (or heartbreaking) discussion on Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, and challenging the very idea of a “canon” in the first place.

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The Poetry of Laura Victoria

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Kiss me like this – slowly.
Your tongue, like a living flame,
feeds my burning dreams –
and after my heavy-hearted abandonment,
a clean breeze brightens
the jasmine in my bed.

Emily Paskevics, writing for Luna Luna Magazine, profiles Laura Victoria, the pseudonym of Colombian poet and diplomat Gertrudis Peñuela (1904-2004).

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This Week in Short Fiction

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When literary magazines publish “Women’s Issues,” they can run the danger of making women into a theme. As if fiction by and about women is a curiosity, something to enjoy for a moment, in one issue a year, before returning to your regularly scheduled old white men programming.

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The Old Sad Soak

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The Old Soak is a hauntingly one-note character, and one wonders exactly what about his alcoholism made him such a bankable franchise. Imagine the pitch meetings that followed: “He’s a lush, see? He wants to booze it up, but he can’t, because of that cursed eighteenth amendment!” Yuks ensue, contracts are signed, and everyone has a glass of whiskey.

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