On the heels of her Rumpus post on the lack of diversity in the New York Times Book Review Roxane Gay has started taking names. Literally. She’s compiling a public database of working writers of color.
Here are the first lines of the new David Mitchell novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, forthcoming in July: “‘Miss Kawasemi?’ Orito kneels on a stale and sticky futon. ‘Can you hear me?’ In the rice paddy beyond the garden, a cacophony of frogs detonates. Orito dabs the concubine’s sweat-drenched face with a damp cloth.”
Over at The New Inquiry, Alison Kinney writes on narrative opportunity, the true function of the literary orphan, and the rage of the real orphan. This moving piece by Matthew Salesses for The Millions on adoption and searching for oneself in a strange place is a nice complement.
The reach of literary Brooklyn grows ever larger, as local hub BookCourt mounts a $300,000 campaign to convert the “Bibliobarn,” 160 miles north in the Catskills, into a “bookshop, event space, and writers’ retreat.” Upstaters, lock up your house-cured salume and artisinally sharpened pencils!