“I came back to my studio and tried to think of the slowest possible way to write a novel, and the slowest way is with frosting.” The Paris Review interviews cartoonist Lynda Barry about writing novels with a paintbrush.
“I didn’t know who William Kelley was when I found that book but, like millions of Americans, I knew a term he is credited with first committing to print. ‘If You’re Woke, You Dig It’ read the headline of a 1962 Op-Ed that Kelley published in the New York Times, in which he pointed out that much of what passed for “beatnik” slang (“dig,” “chick,” “cool”) originated with African-Americans.” Are you familiar with William Kelley? Let Kathryn Schulz be your guide on this historical literary adventure as she discovers an immensely influential writer whom most of us have never heard mentioned.
Out this week: Labor of Love by Moira Weigel; Little Labors by Rivka Galchen; Unforbidden Pleasures by Adam Phillips; Joe Gould’s Teeth by Jill Lepore; Letters to Kevin by Stephen Dixon; and The Fat Artist and Other Stories by Benjamin Hale. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
I’ve written before about the First Sentence series at Granta. The magazine asks a prominent writer to explain how they came to write an opening line. Recently, they asked Bear Down, Bear North author Melinda Moustakis to talk about the beginning of her story “River So Close”: “She’s a good-for-nothing chummer.” You could also read Jonathan Russell Clark on the art of the opening sentence.