Finalists for the Center For Fiction’s First Novel Prize—including Sophie McManus, Ben Metcalf, Lori Ostlund, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Chigozie Obioma, Tanwi Nandini Islam, and Angela Flournoy—discuss the books that made them the writers they are today. Pair with our own Nick Ripatrazone’s recent article on authors’ favorite childhood books.
The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa is offering two seven-week online seminars free of charge this summer: Advanced Poetry and Poetry Masterclass. The seminars are intended for emerging and published poets, respectively, and they will be taught by Micah Bateman and Nick Twemlow. Anybody with an internet connection is allowed to apply, and applications are due May 8th.
“I just think it’ll have such a positive effect on the geek community, the black girl community, the black geek girl community… just opening the doors of your mind to what you can achieve.” The newest character to wear Iron Man’s suit? A 15-year-old girl named Riri Williams, reports NPR. As for your own inner geek, might they be interested in an unauthorized corporate history of Marvel Comics?
Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker comments on why we still write to win prizes (and hails Mario Vargas Llosa for having “a lively personal life that includes once punching out another future laureate…Gabriel García Márquez, reportedly over something to do with Mrs. Vargas Llosa. The Nobel thus not only crowns a career but provides the basis for a fine future Javier Bardem/Antonio Banderas movie.”)
For The New Yorker Alex Ross describes the role Nebraska’s prairies played in Willa Cather’s writing, his encounters with Cather people, and how he became one himself. “From this roughshod Europe of the mind, Cather also emerged with a complex understanding of American identity. Her symphonic landscapes are inflected with myriad accents, cultures, personal narratives—all stored away in a prodigious memory. “
The former Mrs. Elizabeth Gilbert–that is, Michael Cooper, the husband Gilbert left at the opening of Eat Pray Love, has apparently written a book about his life after their divorce. Will it ever be published?