Sir Frank Kermode, widely acclaimed as Britain’s foremost literary critic, died yesterday in Cambridge at the age of 90. Guardian recalls highlights of his eminent career, including inspiring the founding of The London Review of Books, publishing books ranging from works on Spenser and Donne to last year’s Concerning EM Forster, and being an acclaimed reviewer: Philip Roth admitted that although he dislikes reading reviews, “if Frank Kermode reviewed my book I would read it.”
Catching you up to speed with two recent literary controversies: 1) Poets & Writers' MFA rankings kerfuffle gets a climactic and eloquent summary from The Missouri Review's Michael Nye. 2) In response to her Salon article, "How the National Book Awards made themselves irrelevant," Victor LaValle has some fightin' words for Laura Miller.
Congratulations to Millions contributor Edan Lepucki who received the 2009 James D. Phelan Award for her novel manuscript, Days of Insignificance and Evil. The award is given by the Intersection for the Arts and sponsored by the San Francisco Foundation. She'll be reading, along with Page McBee and Youmna Chlala, at the Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco on Monday, November 16th at 7:30.
RIP Robert Stone, who passed away at his home in Key West on Saturday. The author, who won the National Book Award in 1975 for his novel Dog Soldiers, was 77. You can get a sense of his work by reading Tatjana Soli’s review of his story collection Fun with Problems.
What's it like being a young journalist in a turbulent time for the business? Some of my fellow Medill grads and I have created a blog to discuss that and other pressing matters. If you're a journalism junkie like I am, you'll enjoy The Newshole. Check it out.Longtime Millions contributor Emre has started a blog called Live from Gybria, where he will chronicle his travels, his life as a Turkish expat, and his studies at my illustrious alma mater, the Medill School of Journalism. Luckily, Emre will still be posting here, too. In fact, we'll be putting up some more of his reading journals here in the next few days.And congrats to Anne Fernald (proprietor of the litblog Fernham) whose book Virginia Woolf: Feminism and the Reader has just been published.
Jennifer Egan recently spoke with Willing Davidson, fiction editor of The New Yorker, as part of Rewiring the Real, a yearlong series of podcasts with writers about the interplay of literature, technology and religion. Rachel Hurn, a former Millions intern, was there and noted Egan's ambivalence towards "personal writing." [Updated to correct the quote] "If writing necessarily meant writing about myself, then I'd rather do something else," Egan said.