Mark McGurl author of the book that got everyone talking about MFA programs, The Program Era, mounts a spirited defense against Elif Batuman’s much discussed review of the book. Among his ripostes: “One can be all for the deflation of liberal pieties without being a gleeful ignoramus about it, as though literary journalism needs its own Ann Coulter.” Zing!
“Why should Serena not respond to racism? In whose world should it be answered with good manners? The notable difference between black excellence and white excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism. Imagine.” Claudia Rankine writes for The New York Times Magazine about tennis player Serena Williams, racism in sports, and white privilege. Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s list of books that “shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.”
“On the way home, the girl did not notice the color of the sky or the shape of the night, as she was too busy questioning why there were no secrets anymore.” As part of its Recommended Reading series, Electric Literature offers a special seven-part serial by Joe Meno. “Star Witness” tells the story of a young woman in a small southern town who spends the night searching for a missing local girl, and we can’t wait to read the next six installments. Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s profile of Meno from a few years back: “[he] seems more than willing to try new things in his work, to stretch his expectations of what he can do as a writer, and what a book can be.”
It’s just been announced that The Sound of Things Falling by Colombian author, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated from the Spanish by Canadian Anne McLean, is the winner of the 2014 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award (and the €100,000 prize money). We discussed the Prize’s shortlist when it was released back in 2013, and profiled The Sound of Things Falling in our “Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.” Congratulations to Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and be sure to check out his prize-winning novel!
The political unrest in Moscow is significant and worth covering, but it’s important to verify the facts. Over the weekend, a picture of an enormous crowd went viral, and it was billed as an image of anti-Putin demonstrations. This is not true. The image is actually from a 1991 rally in which protesters called for Mikhail Gorbachev’s resignation. It even appears in this Atlantic article from December, 2011.