Amidst the tragic news that Iain Banks has cancer, The Telegraph responds with a headline for the ages: “Iain Banks taught me that books can be a hand grenade“
Nell Zink, whose second novel comes out next week, has one of the lit world’s more unusual origin stories. An expat in Germany, she wrote her first novel in three weeks, after striking up a friendship over email with Jonathan Franzen. In the latest New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz details her story in full. You could also read Emily Gould’s recommendation of her work for Year in Reading.
“Reading Literary Twitter is to witness brief, terse glimpses into the writerly psyche, and how insecure and unsure and thin-skinned we tend to be. As writers, we want to be validated. We want to matter. The published stories and poems and essays, the books we sell, the magazines we edit: all this output, this paper expelled out to the world, the screens we invade with our narratives, it all matters to us. But does it matter to everyone else?” mensah demary writes about the good, the bad, and the slightly neurotic of being a writer on Twitter for Electric Literature.
“I can locate the remnants of two or three abandoned cars that haven’t moved in a year, a couple of defunct pay phones, several tire piles, and at least one trashed couch that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.” Rob Walker on playing Pokémon Go in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward.
This year marks the second anniversary of Asymptote, an international journal focusing on literature in translation. The staff is commemorating the occasion by hosting a series of events in eight different locales around the globe: Beijing, Barcelona, Berlin, Islamabad, Chicago, Taipei, Singapore and New York City. Folks attending The Big Apple’s event on January 20th will get to see Millions contributor Reif Larsen live in action alongside Cole Swensen, Paul Legault, Adam Sorkin, and Ariana Reines.
Morrisey, Lauren Groff, and Erica Jong are among the finalists for the 2015 Bad Sex in Fiction award. The award is presented annually by the British magazine Literary Review in an attempt to “draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them.” Past winners include Norman Mailer and John Updike (the sole recipient of a prestigious lifetime achievement award).