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.)
Mark Twain first rose to fame as the author of an essay about a frog-jumping contest in California. Originally titled “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog,” the essay went viral in America’s biggest newspapers, eventually inspiring the New York Tribune to write of Twain that “no reputation was ever so rapidly won.” Yet the humor which made the essay so popular is often lost on modern audiences, in no small part because, as Ben Turnoff writes in Lapham’s Quarterly, frontier humor isn’t funny if there’s no Wild West.
Before James Franco’s class began, he assigned each of his students to conceive a short film inspired by a different C.K. Williams poem about “decay, but also a sense of memory and rejuvenation.” This November, the class will travel to Detroit to shoot the movie.
“Soon, the nail-biting hours of vote-counting start. For a Turkish citizen who does not support the AKP, casting your vote is the easy part of the process. The trickier task comes after that vote is stamped (to ensure it is real and valid): trying to make sure it is actually counted.” On a new book about Erdoğan’s Turkey.
After reading through two new biographies of Sylvia Plath — American Isis and Mad Girl’s Love Song — Terry Castle concludes that “nothing about her life or legacy seems wholesome or resolved.” (Related: our own Hannah Gersen talking with Pain, Parties, Work author Elizabeth Winder.)