The Atlantic is kicking off its new series, YA for Grown Ups, with an examination of “The Greatest Girl Characters in Young Adult Literature.” Obviously The Hunger Games‘s Katniss Everdeen is up there, but don’t worry, Ramona Quimby makes the list too.
Who invented ska music? John Jeremiah Sullivan traces the history of the genre in his latest essay for The Oxford American. "The more the claims for Rosco Gordon’s supremacy as a ska progenitor seem not out of proportion, and the less crazy it feels to say that, in a sense, ska was born in Tennessee." Pair with: Sullivan's essay on Bunny Wailer, who makes a cameo in his ska essay.
The premier English-language translator of modern Chinese fiction, Howard Goldblatt, says flatly that Western audiences don’t read Chinese books. However, with last year’s Nobel Prize win for Mo Yan (and the rave review his novel Pow! received in the Times), Goldblatt and other scholars are hoping that could change.
"How did a humble Canadian publisher—which got its start reprinting other companys' books—become the name most associated with romance? It's a long story, involving a peripatetic former fur trader and his opinionated socialite wife, a Procter-and-Gamble-trained Harvard MBA, some jilted Americans and a whole crowd of damned scribbling women." From Pictorial comes the story of "How Harlequin Became the Most Famous Name in Romance."
A new laureateship award worth €150,000 was created by Ireland's Arts Council in conjunction with University College Dublin and New York University. The award will be given to "an outstanding Irish writer of fiction" with hopes that the author will "promote [Irish] literature around the world" and "inspire the public to engage with the best Irish fiction." The first appointment will be made in 2014.