“Courage is not a word I’d use to describe a lot of today’s fiction. Writing, M.F.A. students are often told, is a messy exploration of the self. The result can be a suffocating narcissism, a lack of interest in the kind of extrapolation and exploration that is necessary to both mathematics and literature.” At Page-Turner, Alexander Nazaryan urges young writers to learn math.
The Washington Post offers a long profile of the still underappreciated Edward P. Jones. We learn he hasn’t put a word of fiction to paper in four years but has been writing in his head. “‘I write a lot in my head,’ he says. ‘I’ve never been driven to write things down.'” (via @keelinmc)
Could this be the start of a trend? HarperCollins paid the singer Billy Joel $3 million for a memoir back in 2008. Joel wrote The Book of Joel, the publisher edited it, and a June publication date was set. Last week, however, Joel abruptly backed out of the deal and apparently will return the portion of the advance he’s been paid. His reason? He told the Associated Press he “was not all that interested in talking about the past.”
The Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas made headlines when it acquired the David Foster Wallace archives. Now it’s added another high profile author to its collection: J. M. Coetzee.
It’s not Christmas, but it’s close. It’s time for the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex Award Shortlist to be released. This year’s finalists include My Education author Susan Choi and famous folk singer Woody Guthrie among others, and the winner(?) will be announced on December 3rd. (Bonus: Their Twitter account is sharing particularly awful excerpts as well.)