What’s the one question you should never ask a writer starting a new book: how’s the writing going? “Nothing can damage a novel in embryo as quickly and effectively as trying to describe it before it’s ready,” Mark Slouka writes. Follow his advice for how to keep your writer friends.
In the nineties, when Jack Livings was teaching English in China, he was gathering material for The Dog, his short story collection that recently won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize. In an interview in the WSJ, he talks about his research process, Chinese idioms and Uighur-Han relations. You could also read Casey Walker’s syllabus for modern China. (h/t The Rumpus)
“A couple of years ago I attended a British Council discussion about the state of contemporary writing and the creative future in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. When someone brought up the dearth of memoirs in the Nigerian literary landscape, almost everyone in the room laughed ruefully. Someone joked aloud, ‘We can’t write memoirs. We’d have to wait for parents to die. Not just parents – everyone who knows us, even!’ This concern is not limited to nonfiction.” Bim Adewunmi writes for BuzzFeed on African immigrants’ stories.
Recommended Reading: This interview from Full Stop with Lisa Hanawalt, producer and production designer of the Netflix series BoJack Horseman: "We aren’t supposed to openly discuss shitting in polite society, so making artwork that frankly portrays it is titillating. I think it’s called 'desublimation' in fancy art-school terms, but it’s going back to a childish, playing around in our own muck state, and that’s why it’s as fun and appealing as it is repulsive."
Recommended reading: Sara Polsky writes for the New Yorker about "The Detective Novel That Convinced a Generation Richard III Wasn't Evil."