Chris Adrian‘s pedigree is impressive: former Harvard Divinity student; Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate; current fellow in UCSF’s pediatric hematology/oncology department; lifelong fan of Shakespeare. He’s also found time to appear in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and McSweeney’s. Great Night, his latest novel, imaginatively reboots A Midsummer Night’s Dream by setting it in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park. Here’s some footage of him reading an excerpt at last month’s FSG Reading Series.
Alice Driver writes for Vela about growing up in Arkansas and becoming an artist. As she explains it, “Because I have no debt, I have been able to pursue writing and have had the opportunity to fail time and again.” Pair with Kate Angus’s Millions essay on making a living as a poet.
As Amy Bloom remembers it, the inspiration for her most recent novel came from two sources: the mythos of Old Hollywood and the criminal history of her own family. In The Guardian, she recounts the genesis of Lucky Us, with brief descriptions of her family’s rap sheet.
Landays are traditional two-line folk poems, and they are particularly popular among Afghan women these days. Recently Poetry magazine dedicated an issue to the short verses, and Dowser has a behind-the-scenes look at how the issue was put together. Previously, New York Times Magazine caught up with some members of Mirman Baheerm, a women’s literary society based in Kabul.
Here's a novel idea: using literature to map out the emotions of a time period. (1940s? Sad. 1920s? Happy. 2010s? ...Don't ask.)