Albert Uderzo, co-creator of Asterix, announced his retirement yesterday. Since 1977, Uderzo has been the sole author of the popular French comic books, which have sold over 350 million copies worldwide. His successor has yet to be named, though Uderzo said it will be an artist “who has been following us for a long time inside a studio I set up.”
At The Guardian, Jhumpa Lahiri recounts the path that led her to write her latest book in Italian, one of the most anticipated books of 2016. As she puts it, “A week after arriving [in Rome], I open my diary to describe our misadventures and I do something strange, unexpected. I write my diary in Italian. I do it almost automatically, spontaneously. I do it because when I take the pen in my hand I no longer hear English in my brain. During this period when everything confuses me, everything unsettles me, I change the language I write in.”
At The Awl, Noah Davis provides an honest overview of how difficult it can be to earn – or fail to earn – a living from freelance internet writing. Perhaps would-be freelancers should take a cue from Ian Hamilton’s 1998 London Review of Books essay in which he espoused the benefits – or perils – of accepting prizes and other literary subsidies.
Scientists confirmed recently that writers are more likely to struggle with mental illness (sometimes, as recently noted, due to syphilis). Since we're so used to our alcoholic literary greats, and a smattering of suicidal ones (Plath, Woolf, Thompson, Wallace--and many more), this comes as no great surprise. On a happier note, a new study using fMRIs and MFA students has found that writers show different brain patterns than "normal people" just writing: in fact they resemble "expert" thinking patterns of all professionals doing what they're best at--musicians, athletes, competitive Scrabble players. I don't know if I'm happier to learn the fMRIs found no gaping black holes, or that MFAs do in fact teach you something.