Stephen Dodson wasn’t the only one inspired to write about Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate this month. Over at The New Republic, Adam Kirsch calls Grossman’s masterpiece one of the world’s “very greatest Holocaust novels.”
“if I am going to set a novel in a real place, in a real time, I must get all the details right. I should not put a wall around Washington Square, start the Iraq War in 2005, or claim that maple trees bear acorns. This matters because it has to do with keeping faith with your readers. If you get something verifiable wrong, why should they believe you when you really are making things up?” Helen Benedict for Amazon Author Insights on finding the balance between research and imagination when writing fiction. (Full disclosure, Amazon helps us pay the bills around here!)
“The call isn’t for a literature to, as Ta-Nehisi Coates has described, stop people from hitting us. […] But for a multiplicity of presence. A mingling, if not an acceptance, of a duality of presence. The right to be average. For the black guys in our literary fiction, if nowhere else, to be given the benefit of the doubt.” Over at the Ploughshares blog, Bryan Washington makes a case for inclusion in literary fiction.
Authors photos “defeat the purpose of imaginative literature, in general, and of much poetry, in particular, because they invite us to get to know an author by something other than her creations in words,” poet Stephen Burt argues. Pair with our own Edan Lepucki’s musings on the topic.
Nabokov played (and frequently wrote about) chess; J.K. Rowling plays Minecraft, though it has yet to appear in any kind of Harry Potter spin-off. And why shouldn’t she? After all, “there’s a long tradition of other authors turning to a variety of such games – mostly as light relief from their vocation, but also sometimes finding writerly inspiration.”
“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.”
“Inspired by her governess, the radical feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, Margaret King cast aside her immense privilege, cross-dressed as a man to go to medical school, and inspired a new generation of women to push against the rigid conventions of their era.” Meet Margaret King at Longreads.