Expert walker and poet Jon Cotner, coauthor of Ten Walks/Two Talks, will lead a set of excursions on NYC streets during the month of June. Walkers will be given two lines to repeat to strangers, in an attempt to break down social barriers: “Anonymity dissolves. Spontaneous societies arise.”
Anna Sun profiles the work of Mo Yan, the latest winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. While Sun acknowledges Yan’s popularity and prolific output, she also notes that what the Nobel committee referred to as “hallucinatory prose” is more often than not “repetitive, predictable, coarse, and mostly devoid of aesthetic value.” Indeed, Sun writes, “the English translations of Mo Yan’s novels … are in fact superior to the original.” [Ed. Note: It appears the Kenyon Review link was briefly not working; this Google cache may work better — h/t Dan Farrely]
“Bengali children’s fiction’s limitless supply of ghost stories is matched by little other than its readers’ appetite for it,” writes Siddharthya Swapan Roy. “Anthologies dedicated to ghostly thrills come out with unfailing regularity and every publishing house that does not wish to upset its child readership pays due respects to ghosts and their stories.”
What inspired Wally Lamb’s latest novel, We Are Water? Part of it came from his experience teaching writing at a women’s prison in Connecticut for the past 14 years. He spoke to The Missouri Review about what it’s like to teach “the incarcerated wounded” and how they have influenced his work. “With my fiction, I’ve never been afraid to go to the dark places, but I think the women have made me more daring.”
In The New York Times, Anne Lamott (of Bird by Bird fame) reveals the one book she’d recommend to President Obama. It might not surprise many readers of her memoir that her choice — Anti-California: Report from our First Parafascist State — is a nonfiction book by her father.
The 2012 Costa Book Awards (PDF), which recognize books by writers in the UK and Ireland, were awarded yesterday in the Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book categories. Interestingly, each category was won by a female author. Three cheers for Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies, Francesa Segal’s The Innocents, Mary M. Talbot’s Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Kathleen Jamie’s Overhaul, Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon.