The New York Times recently asked Jennifer Szalai and Mohsin Hamid why there isn’t a Great American Novel written by a woman? Both writers concluded that there is no such thing as the Great American Novel. “But if the idea of the Great American Novel is blinding us to exquisite fiction written by women, then perhaps its harm is exceeding its usefulness,” Hamid wrote. We think that’s a bit of a cop out. But a few women showed up on our list of the Greatest American Novels.
Jonathan Franzen’s 2011 Kenyon commencement speech, published this weekend in the New York Times, covers love, consumerism, and narcissism in the digital age. If you’re concerned with critical reception, looks like you’re not a creator of “serious art and literature,” in Franzen’s eyes.
Kirkus Reviews has announced the winners of this year’s Kirkus Prize, bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. The 2015 winners are Hanya Yanagihara (for her A Little Life, who we interviewed), Ta-Nehisi Coates (for Between the World and Me, which we published an essay about), and Pam Muñoz Ryan (for Echo).