Phillip Roth talks to David L. Ulin at the Los Angeles Times about his latest novel Nemesis, aging as a writer, and how he begins each new novel: “I don’t know very much… I write my way into my knowledge. Then, if I’m lucky, I get a break.”
In his review of Ben Marcus‘s The Flame Alphabet for the LARB, Lee Konstantinou suggests that we have now moved well beyond the death of the author: “In an era where everyone has a novel waiting to come out, authors are legion; it’s the reader who seems, well, dead.” When we interviewed Marcus earlier this year he did not seem particularly mournful. We also reviewed the novel.
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich put together a reading list to help children understand the global refugee experience, and Kaveh Akbar compiled a list of poems from the seven countries — Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria — impacted by President Donald Trump’s executive order. Meanwhile, Kieran Hebden (a.k.a. Four Tet) has been curating a Spotify playlist of music from those countries as well.
Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star in an eight-hour dramatization of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. Completed in 1960, and centered around the bloody battle of Stalingrad, the novel was deemed so dangerous by the KGB that the book itself was arrested. BBC’s excited, and all the episodes are available to download.
One of the surprises of last week’s James Beard Awards was the runaway success of McSweeney’s offshoot Lucky Peach, which ended up taking home five out of seventeen awards. On John Birdsall’s Tumblr, you can read one of the winning essays, which bears the attention-grabbing title of “America, Your Food Is So Gay.” (Related: Jessica Ferri on food writing.)
Toni Morrison talked about writing, race relations, and journalism in a conversation with Hilton Als at the New Yorker Festival last week, and the highlights are available online. Als has also written an illuminating profile of Morrison for the magazine.