Jonathan Franzen’s 2011 Kenyon commencement speech, published this weekend in the New York Times, covers love, consumerism, and narcissism in the digital age. If you’re concerned with critical reception, looks like you’re not a creator of “serious art and literature,” in Franzen’s eyes.
You should check out George Saunders’s “Liner Notes” piece about “2776: A Musical Journey Through America’s Past, Present & Future,” which is set to accompany a forthcoming musical-comedy album from Patton Oswalt, Aubrey Plaza, Ira Glass, and Yo La Tengo, among others. If that hasn’t sold you, consider the fact that Saunders’s piece contains this line: “Truth be told, there were a number of regrettable omissions. Beyoncé and Jay Z’s piece ‘Bomber’ had to be left off the album. (‘Driver of this plane, this / B-52 on the way to Nagasaki / Stuff your ears with cotton and / Close those eyes / Me and my man are about to do it all over this / Here bomb’).”
The Morning News is asking writers to visit restaurants and then write about the experience, so long as the piece they write adheres to two criteria: “1) it is a restaurant review” and “2) it is not a restaurant review.” First on deck: Roxane Gay, whose novel Untamed State was recently reviewed for our site.
For close to two decades now, the Rona Jaffe Foundation has honored “women writers of exceptional talent in the early stages of their careers” with annual Writers’ Awards worth $30,000 each. This year, the winners are Tiffany Briere (fiction/nonfiction); Ashlee Crews (fiction); Kristen Dombek (nonfiction); Margaree Little (poetry); Kirsten Valdez Quade (fiction); and Jill Sisson Quinn (nonfiction). The winners accepted their awards in a private ceremony on the 19th.
It’s hard to resist reading others’ diary entries, especially when the diaries in question belong to famous writers. Now that a selection of Jack Kerouac‘s journals is being released from The New Yorker archives and made available online, resistance is more or less futile. Originally published in 1998, these journal entries span the years from 1948 to 1950, from just after the long drive that inspired On the Road to the publication of Kerouac’s first book, The Town and the City.