The fiftieth anniversary of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is coming up on October 13th, so to get ready, pour yourself a drink (or five), don your best academic tweeds, and read these interviews with playwright Edward Albee and audience members who attended the play’s original 1962 run.
When did Samuel Beckett’s “fail better” become the motto of Silicon Valley? At Slate, our own Mark O’Connell traces the history of the phrase. “Fail Better, with its TEDishly counterintuitive feel, is the literary takeaway par excellence; it’s usefully suggestive, too, of the corporate propaganda of productivity, with its appeals to ‘think different’ or ‘work smarter’ or ‘just do it.'”
Peter Hedges, author of the novel and screenplay for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, as well as Dan in Real Life, and Pieces of April, is set to adapt and direct his latest novel, The Heights. Set in Brooklyn Heights amid its wealthy, over-zealous, stay-at-home mommy set, the novel follows a happy, slightly down-at-the-heel couple as their marriage is tested by the arrival of another woman. (All of the wit of Tom Perrotta’s Little Children, but not quite so dark and cynical.)
Alison Mudditt, director of The University of California Press, has announced the suspension of the New California Poetry series due to state budget cuts and the challenges posed to “our industry and markets which (not unlike the newspaper industry!) require us to rethink and retool to remain a vibrant and relevant voice in the digital age.”
“There is, however, more to these poems than just the occasional chuckle. The Google autocomplete suggestions are based on previous searches by actual people all around the world. In the cold blue glow of their computer screens, they ask ‘why am I alone’ and ‘why do fat girls have high standards’. They wonder how to roll a joint and whether it is too early to say ‘I love you’. They seek information on ninjas, cannibals, and Rihanna, and sometimes they just ask ‘am I better off dead?’”
Does a writer need a devoted spouse to be prolific? At The Atlantic, Koa Beck examines the concept of having a do-it-all partner like Vera Nabokov and if this traditional gender role only harms female writers. Koa interviews various writers, from Emma Straub to Ayelet Waldman, on how their literary partnerships work. “I’d fantasized that being his Vera was a way for me to deal with being stuck as a stay-at-home mom—I’d subsume my own ambitions into something ‘greater!’ But that lasted about 48 hours,” Waldman said.