Peter Jackson, beloved director of The Lord of the Rings movies, has turned his talents to an adaption of a very different book. He has directed a film version of Alice Sebold‘s The Lovely Bones (see the trailer here), the story of a young girl who is murdered and looks down on her family and killer from heaven. Saoirse Ronan will play Susie Salmon, the novel’s heroine. Ronan is perhaps making a career of cinematic adaptions of novels–she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Briony Tallis in last year’s film version of Ian McEwan‘s Atonement. Susan Sarandon, Rachel Weisz, and Stanley Tucci also star.
I have an essay in the September issue of Poets & Writers on "The Social Value of MFA Programs." Sadly, P&W deems the piece too valuable to give away for free on the Web, so if you want to read it, you'll have to go to your local newsstand and buy a copy.
In the introduction to her interview with the author, the inimitable Parul Sehgal described Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest novel, Americanah, as “a thrilling and risky piece of writing that takes on taboos, shatters pieties, and combines forthright prose, subversive humor, and a ripping good story.” If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.
In theory, the author of a great novel is invisible to the reader, letting her stories and characters speak for themselves. In practice, however, it can help for an author to make herself known, as explained by Tim Parks in this essay. Sample quote: “We have the impression that if someone ever did find the full story of his life, we would immediately recognize the person we had in mind.”
What's the best part of writing for Sue Monk Kidd? The solitude. What's the hardest part for her? The solitude. Kidd acknowledged the challenges of writing in a "By the Book" interview with The New York Times. "For me, writing a novel goes on for years, and the solitude goes on, too. It tends to swallow me at times. I know it’s a problem when my husband sends the dog in to retrieve me." Her latest novel, The Invention of Wings, came out on Tuesday and was part of our 2014 book preview.