Imagine a reality television show that pits up-and-coming writers against each other in a series of challenges designed to test their skills and endurance. When the smoke clears, and the bourbon’s gone, one talented writer will be reborn into gritty glory; only one writer will become America’s Next Top Writer!
Over at The New Yorker, Roa Lynn recalls going to Pablo Neruda’s home and getting him to write her a poem: “Would he read a few of the poems that I had brought with me? To my delight, he said that after lunch he would take his customary nap and after that he would read our poems. If he liked them, he would write something for our book.” Pair with this Millions essay about Neruda’s house in Isla Negra.
The “good bad guy” has been having his moment on television. From Don Draper to Tony Soprano, America loves the anti-hero. Here’s a look at some literary anti-heroes from over at Ploughshares. You are likely to either agree with or be enraged by this essay from The Millions on likeability in fiction.
“Make no mistake: if you run a prize, a “best of” list, a residency, with age guidelines you can’t fully justify then, however otherwise diverse your awardees, you and your organisation are consolidating racism, sexism, class and gender discrimination.” Joanna Walsh for The Guardian arguing that, by focusing on youth, literary awards and honors tend to reward “those most likely to have money, security, contacts, confidence.” See also our Post-40 Bloomers series, including interviews most recently with Lidia Yuknavitch and Cole Lavalais.
Recommended reading: a new, previously undiscovered story and accompanying poem by Charlotte Brontë. The story is rife with flogging and embezzlement–all the good stuff! Here’s a bonus piece on how Charlotte is at least partly responsible for the success of the Bronte sisters as a whole.