Best selling author Elena Ferrante will be a new weekend columnist for the Guardian magazine. Why did she decide to go this route in addition to writing a screenplay? Read her reasoning and pair with this essay on reading Italy through Ferrante's work.
In 2013, Mo Yan became China’s first resident Nobel Laureate in Literature, which prompted a huge swell of interest in his books in the West. In the Times, Janet Maslin reviews Frog, his latest novel to get an English translation. Sample quote: “Mo Yan, whose real name is Guan Moye, says everything he needs to about the Cultural Revolution with a scene in which Tadpole and other schoolboys eat coal and claim to find it delicious.” You could also read Alan Levinovitz on modern Chinese literature.
“We live, in short, with local exceptions, in a dissociated world held together by fragile links of utility and self-promotion underpinned by laws of mutual advantage—a materialist ethos and cosmos that cannot but influence cultural representations and, hence, art, including poetry.” On John Donne and the humanity in art.
Catch it while you can: Charlie Rose's hour-long interview with Pedro Almodóvar and his muse, Penélope Cruz, touches on character, confidence, and control, and is currently available online. Almodóvar's latest film, Broken Embraces, which I saw last summer in Madrid sans subtitles, was so visually stunning and well-acted that despite my meager translation the film enthralled. With a proper translation, it should be ravishing.