Of course you don’t have to read an author’s work to have to deal with their influence. Major figures like Faulkner, Pynchon, Bolaño, and David Foster Wallace cast such a wide shadow that they’re a liability for every writer today. You can’t write except by writing against them, trying to get out from under, not least because even if you haven’t read them your potential readers have, so the risk of having failed to negotiate their influence is unavoidable.
Posts Tagged: Electric Literature
Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison. Sherwood Anderson and William and Faulkner. Henry James and Edith Warton. And now, X… and you!
The Association of Writers & Writing Programs just announced the establishment of a mentorship program starting in September. As stated on their community page, they are giving special consideration to applicants of backgrounds “typically underrepresented in the literary world” who are unaffiliated with MFA programs, but encourage everyone set on improving their craft to apply....more
Electric Literature talks to David Shapiro about his new semi-factual novel You’re Not Much Use to Anyone and the reasons why he never wants to write another book like it:
I feel really guilty about it. I feel exploitative. A friend of mine who is the basis for a character asked, “How could you have done this?
Playing off of Jerry Seinfeld’s video series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” The Morning News introduced a new column earlier this month called “Novelists in Restaurants Eating Food.” Roxane Gay offered up the first sampling, and this Wednesday, Jami Attenburg contributed the second, “Café de la Esquina.” Should there be doubts as to the genre of the review/not review, the editors left a hashtag-fiction indicator at the bottom for us....more
A public art project in London this summer aims to remind people of the joy that comes with reading books by decorating benches across the city with illustrations from classic literature. The book-shaped benches are sponsored by the National Literacy Trust and feature authors ranging from Oscar Wilde to C.S....more
Earlier this year, Emily Gould wrote about the perils of selling her first book, an essay collection, and the importance of getting out of debt before finishing her novel. That novel, Friendship, launches next week. Gould spoke with Melissa Duclos over at Electric Literature about the writing process, her electronic bookstore Emily Books, and of course, money:
The finances are important, too.
Mark Luce, who teaches literature and history at the Barstow School in Kansas City, has a new column at Electric Literature, reviewing books that he and the school’s librarian have recently removed from the collection. His first “Discarded Pile” post is on German Secret Weapons: Blueprint for Mars by Brian J....more
It can be tricky. Let Electric Literature help you figure out the best way to open a new book. There are several different ways to open your next book. Try, for instance:
The Precious: A favorite of collectors who want to keep their books in as near mint condition as possible, The Precious involves only opening pages at a thirty degree angle to ensure the spine never bends.
Over at Electric Literature, Joseph Rositano contemplates the relationship between writing and mental health. Though he admits that creative writing has been associated with “mental abnormality” for centuries (the number of writers who committed suicide isn’t small), it’s still difficult to explain why this particular discipline—as opposed to painting or science, which also have the “‘tortured genius’ stereotype”—is so frequently associated with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder....more
The Los Angeles Review of Books enlisted Kayla Williams, a veteran sergeant and Arabic linguist, to compile a list of war narratives by women for Memorial Day. Williams, herself an accomplished writer of two memoirs on her war experience and return home, offered a wealth of resources for those wanting to know more about American soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan....more
Jerry Stahl’s Happy Mutant Baby Pills is a hurricane of comedic and satirical horrors involving drug abuse, violence, manic lovers (including their manic sex lives), and ungodly revenge against the United States. Stahl ventures unapologetically through the darkest imaginable places.
She’d been ready to do her part for the war effort. Out of appreciation and gratitude and patriotism. All those hours on that terrible ship. Now what Seymour wanted was love, and she couldn’t possibly give that to him.
For Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading series, Ann Beattie highlights “At the Fairmont,” a short short by Rumpus columnist Peter Orner about a woman meeting her husband as he returns from navy service in World War II....more
Halimah Marcus and Benjamin Samuel, the co-editors of Recommended Reading, discuss the ins and outs of editing an ambitious literary project....more
We’ve written about Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading with excitement before, and this week is no exception. The latest issue features new writing from Mary Gaitskill: an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, titled “The Devil’s Treasure.” We won’t spoil any of it here, but let’s just say it feels good to read Gaitskill’s work again....more
“Reviewing a book that ‘sets itself up to fail, then fails to do that,’ David Winters makes a dizzying number of verbal and logical U-turns....more
Electric Literature is asking us to show some restraint this holiday season with their Holiday Restraint Short Short Contest. Submit “a short short of 30 to 300 words, that uses each word only once” by midnight of Dec 31st....more
“To The Editor,
Last winter I submitted a story titled Vacation from Hell. Frankly, the length of time it has taken to reply to my submission is an insult. If I had gotten you pregnant back in January, instead of simply submitting a story, we would have already packed a bag for the hospital, mapped out our route, et....more
This week in New York Electric Literature celebrates the launch of Issue 4, the Shepard Fairey exhibit is at Deitch Projects, Daniel Clowes discusses Wilson, John Leguizamo is honored by Spike Lee and Eric Bogosian, Ugly Duckling Presse presents “Talk Show,” and Lynne Tillman and Michael Cunningham pay tribute to Flannery O’Connor....more
Marc Jacobs is pissing off literary West Villagers by opening a book store.
At The Guardian, Christine Granados has some fightin’ words for Cormac McCarthy and lists other authors she feels write the American southwest better....more
My relationship with the book blogs has hit a snag. Today, we got in a throw-down fight, and I came pretty close to breaking some china.
It’s just that the blogs whine and worry and complain a lot, and they always seem to want to cheat on me with famous writers, like Martin Amis or David Foster Wallace or Marquis de Sade, and then it rubs off on me, and I end up whining and worrying and complaining more than they do, and then I stop liking myself....more