Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s moving speech at The Sunday Times Literary Awards in which he speaks about the resilience of literature and the necessity of keeping less-popular languages alive is now available online. (Here’s our handy guide to pronouncing the author’s name, in case you were too embarrassed to ask.)
As part of their Sunday Interview series, The Rumpus had a chat with Leslie Jamison, who talked to Martha Bayne about The Empathy Exams, the ubiquity of Frozen and the pathos of Taylor Swift. If you like, you could also take a look at our own Edan Lepucki’s interview with Jamison, or else read Ryan Teitman’s review of The Empathy Exams.
Hungarian author and 2002 Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész announced his retirement, reports Nicolas Gary in the French publication ActuaLitté. (Link to Google’s translation into English.) As a “gesture of reconciliation” the Fatelessness author and Holocaust survivor has decided to give nearly 35,000 of his papers to the Academy of Arts in Berlin. Meanwhile, Kertész has recently had several of his shorter works released in handsome Melville House editions. (h/t Hari Kunzru)
Have some free time today? Might I suggest reading Michael Idov‘s GQ article “The Movie That Ate Itself.” Not convinced? I’ll let the story’s description speak for itself: “Five years ago, a relatively unknown (and unhinged) director began one of the wildest experiments in film history. Armed with total creative control, he invaded a Ukrainian city, marshaled a cast of thousands and thousands, and constructed a totalitarian society in which the cameras are always rolling and the actors never go home.”
The London Review of Books Blog reports that the personal library of late novelist David Markson has been scattered among the stacks at New York’s Strand bookstore, filled with notes, check marks and underlined passages. Some comments found scrawled in his copy of DeLillo’s White Noise: “oh god the pomposity, the bullshit!” and “oh i get it, it’s a sci-fi novel!”
Back in 2013, Ted Gioia wrote a piece for The Millions about an old sci-fi novel that correctly predicted the future. Since then, he’s embarked on an ambitious project that expands on his interest in sci-fi, exploring how the most radical sci-fi writers of the sixties paved the way for much of modern fiction. As he puts it, “I focus on this era in the history of sci-fi because it laid the groundwork for one of the most important developments in current-day fiction.”