In his latest Year in Reading, Chigozie Obioma told us about Eka Kurniawan’s Beauty Is a Wound, “the howling masterpiece of 2015...a howl, an outrage, and a sheer burst of particular talent.” In an illuminating interview for Electric Literature, Kurniawan discusses the label “magic realism,” epic creation, and his ideas for his next novel.
This is supercool: Hyperallergic reports programmer Jamie Zawinski has created a digital rendering of the library of Babel from Jorge Luis Borges’s short story of the same name, which imagines an institution intended to house all potential books. You might also enjoy our 2013 piece about a discovered set of Borges lectures from a class the author taught in Argentina in 1966.
Scientists confirmed recently that writers are more likely to struggle with mental illness (sometimes, as recently noted, due to syphilis). Since we're so used to our alcoholic literary greats, and a smattering of suicidal ones (Plath, Woolf, Thompson, Wallace--and many more), this comes as no great surprise. On a happier note, a new study using fMRIs and MFA students has found that writers show different brain patterns than "normal people" just writing: in fact they resemble "expert" thinking patterns of all professionals doing what they're best at--musicians, athletes, competitive Scrabble players. I don't know if I'm happier to learn the fMRIs found no gaping black holes, or that MFAs do in fact teach you something.