In Zadie Smith’s introduction to the Writers Bloc series, she writes that the program sought essays “that were not only pious, charitable or analytical but also readable, engaging, exciting.” The essays published by Guernica certainly meet this criteria. I particularly recommend Aleksandar Hemon’s essay on first graders in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Getting too quickly to where you want to go, getting there too smoothly, is antithetical to thinking through complex issues. You want roadblocks, confusion, chaos, and doubt. Unexpected, wonderful things come out of this approach.” Jeff VanderMeer provides a master class for Publisher’s Weekly on novel revision, explaining in five steps how his new book Borne arrived at its final incarnation. And for more shop talk, see VanderMeer’s interview with The Kills author Richard House from our own pages a couple of years back.
Recommended Reading: Poet and novelist Carmen Boullosa on her obsession with lost stories and found textual objects, as well as the efficacy of rereading.
Must be willing to perform “light, household maintenance.” Harry Bliss, an illustrator and cartoonist at The New Yorker, has purchased the former home of J.D. Salinger and will turn it into a retreat for one lucky cartoonist during February 2017. Pair with our review of J.D. Salinger: A Life, a comprehensive biography of the famously reclusive writer’s work.
Measuring a writer’s success is tricky. An author might make The New York Times Bestseller List now but only be a footnote in an encyclopedia a century later. At The Guardian, D.J. Taylor wonders what contributes to a writer’s posterity and concludes a pushy publisher or sponsor is often a writer’s best asset. Pair with: Our essay on how John Updike fans attempt to maintain his reputation.