In 1932, several black Americans – including Langston Hughes – traveled to the Soviet Union to shoot a propaganda film about the “evils of racism in the United States.” One of those travelers, Lloyd Patterson, would never return. Instead, Patterson married an Ukrainian woman, and the pair had two children. The firstborn, Jim Patterson, was at one time the most famous black resident of the USSR – and his appearance in The Circus even drew the admiration of Joseph Stalin. After World War II, Patterson served as a Soviet naval officer aboard a submarine in the Black Sea. From there he went on to the Soviet Writers Union in 1967. If you think this sounds far-fetched, I encourage you to read more here.
This past Sunday the American Library Association gave out the first Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction to Robert K. Massie’s Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman and Anne Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz. Also be sure to check out our interview with Enright.
The good folks at Dorothy labored over a tremendous “Book Map” depicting the settings of some 600 literary works based in London. The books, poems, and essays selected for the map run the gamut from T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
Gawker.com will end operations next week – and this time it’s for good. Over at the New Yorker, Jia Solentino writes about what made Gawker singular in the online world. “A lively, difficult brand of unevenness was inherent in Gawker’s work, and this still seems to confound people: Why, if it took its work seriously, would it run ‘some of both the best and worst of 21st century journalism,’” as Salon put it, and all under the same name?”