Michael Cunningham, who alongside Maureen Corrigan and Susan Larson sat on the jury of the Pulitzer Prize for for fiction, gives the clearest account yet of how the award process works and defends the three shortlisted titles. His letter is in two parts, he also addresses the function of judgment and begins to build a poetics of literary greatness.
“Like moss, my family grew on a mountain. In the utmost northwest of Spain, they set down roots so thick that only despair could rip them out.” Lorena Piñeiro writes at Midnight Breakfast about her family and penance. Pair with a piece on the business of nonfiction.
“To use the lingo of their era, these novels are square. The protagonists have names like Jane and Barbara; they are not the misfits of which much teen literature is made but instead fundamentally good girls who long to fit in, and usually do … Viewed through the lens of contemporary culture, and especially contemporary teen lit, these girls should be boring and shallow. But Beverly Cleary’s supposedly ordinary girls are complex: resentful of their mothers one moment and sympathetic toward them the next, willing to do anything for one special boy but indignant when they’re taken for granted.” On the unexpectedly complex nature of Beverly Cleary’s boring protagonists with Ruth Graham at Slate.
As a tribute to James Salter, who died on Friday at ninety, The Paris Review Daily republished his acceptance speech for their Hadada Prize, back in 2011. In the speech, Salter touches on George Plimpton, Barnes and Noble and his novel A Sport and a Pastime. You could also read our interview with the author.
Six novelists discuss their second-favorite art forms (after writing, of course). Before you click, see if you can guess which one of these folks is most interested in opera: Kazuo Ishiguro, Lavinia Greenlaw, John Lanchester, Alan Werner, Sarah Hall and Colm Tóibín.
The Critterati pets-in-literary-garb contest ends at midnight tonight! You can view a gallery of the submissions as they appear, and some of them are phenomenal. I especially like Humbert Humbert. I don’t know how these people got their animals to cooperate (drugs, probably). Big Ed and Nadine, aged six months, made it quite clear that under no circumstances would they be dressed up as Lata and Kabir from A Suitable Boy (what am I supposed to do with this tiny cardboard cricket bat now?) Henry and June was also a non-starter, but that might have been unkind to do to siblings, anyway. No one wants to see his sister chew up a garter belt. Evidently I’m not the only one to encounter massive opposition.