At Page-Turner, Willing Davidson interviews Karen Russell, the newly minted MacArthur Genius, Swamplandia! author and 20 Under 40 alum. The conclusion this writer came to after reading their back-and-forth? The phrases “luck lightning” and “King Doomsday” need to be used more often. (FYI, we published our own interview with Russell back in February.)
“Hey, I noticed you checking out my tote bag. I’m sure you see a lot of totes on the train, all about food co-ops or public radio or theater repertory companies. But me, I use this expanse of unbleached cotton-canvas blend to say one thing: I love books.”
New this week: Flings by Justin Taylor; We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas; The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar; Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark; The Undertaking by Audrey Magee; Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher; and a new translation of a French children’s book by Lydia Davis. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Recently Salman Rushdie spoke at a conference in Delhi. He had been scheduled to appear with the Pakistani politician Imran Khan, who later pulled out of the event citing the “immeasurable hurt” that The Satanic Verses had done to Muslims. Rushdie, who had earlier been prevented from attending the Jaipur literary festival for fear of his presence inciting a riot, dismissed Khan’s claims: “The chilling effect of violence is very real and it is growing in this country.”
Rick Gekoski, previously shortlisted for the PEN/Ackerley prize, talks about what it means to be a good literary loser, at Guardian: “And as soon as the winner is announced and it isn’t you,” Colm Tóibín observed, “the cameraman just walks away, and you are left there at the table trying to look composed, and you want to die.”