As the world digests the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, we offer a recommendation for Lawrence Wright’s masterful book The Looming Tower, which tells the history of Bin Laden and the terrorist movement that led to 9/11.
This week Margaret Atwood tweeted a photo of her and Alice Munro drinking champagne in a “secret lair.” There’s no denying it — technology has changed the way we tell stories. Atwood and 16 other writers, from Victor LaValle to Lee Child, discussed how technology influences their work in The New York Times. “There’s nothing worse for plots than cellphones. Once your characters have one, there’s no reason for them to get lost or stranded,” Rainbow Rowell said.
Are you a woman of color writer in need of the time and space provided by a writing retreat, ideally in October? Then you’re in luck, applications for the Jack Jones Literary Arts retreat have just opened! New York Times Magazine writer Jenna Wortham is this year’s Writer-in-Residence. Applications are due April 1st and there is a $35 application fee. But if you hurry you might be able to get your application fee waived thanks to generous donors. We urge you to apply now and wish you the best of luck!
In case you missed it, this past weekend The New York Review of Books likely outed the author who’s been writing under the nom de plume of Elena Ferrante. Condemnation was fast and furious, including pieces by n+1 and this fantastic Twitter thread by critic Lili Loofbourow. We join the chorus of voices who would rather direct the attention back to Ferrante’s work. Might we suggest starting with this piece about The Neapolitan Quartet‘s subversive power?
“Many writers write vexed introspection, or detail-oriented reporting, or counterintuitive cultural commentary, or lifestyle journalism. But so far only Didion has done all four in perfect synthesis, a prose that, at its best, can fire on every cylinder and work on multiple fields of the imagination at once.” In support of the Kickstarter project for the documentary on Joan Didion, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live, Nathan Heller looks back over Didion’s writing career, her “imaginatively seductive” nonfiction writing and her carefully constructed confessionalism in a piece for Vogue.