Controversial writer Michel Houellebecq finally wins France’s top literary award, the Goncourt Prize, for The Map and the Territory (published in French last September).
“Maybe I [felt] a shift in responsibility when I had kids. I wanted the work I was doing, whatever it was, to be something that could be meaningful to them one day. That’s where the germ of the memoir came from. I thought that perhaps writing about my parents and where I came from would one day be helpful for my kids.” For Guernica, Christopher Kondrich interviews Tracy K. Smith about writing a memoir, the presence of David Bowie in her Life on Mars, and her reverence for the cosmic. Also check out Sophia Nguyen’s Millions review of Smith’s memoir, Ordinary Light.
Those following this weekend’s events in Tripoli will no doubt be interested in Banipal‘s issue dedicated to Libyan fiction. And, as Moammar Gaddafi‘s reign appears to be ending, the Guardian‘s evisceration of his short stories is worth a read. On NPR‘s site, Hisham Matar also explains the influence of Gaddafi’s rule on Libyan writing.
“How had no one ever told me about (Othello‘s) Emilia, who, in only a couple of lines, brings down one of the most conniving, merciless villains in all of Western literature? How had no one told me about this fantastic female character who defies not one but two sword-wielding men in order to make sure Desdemona, her mistress and friend, receives justice? I wanted to rip up my diploma. I wanted to start over as a freshman and devote my entire undergraduate career to the Gospel of Emilia.” On Othello’s Emilia and her refusal to be silenced.