The Daily Bruin is a running a stunning multimedia series about “the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Malawi, a country that outlaws homosexuality and in which UCLA has a strong research presence.” Two recent UCLA graduates – Sonali Kohli and Blaine Ohigashi – spent 24 days interviewing LGBT Malawians, activists and researchers “about the healthcare and human rights challenges the community faces.” As with the 40 Towns project I’ve mentioned previously, the result of Kohli and Ohigashi’s reportage is a testament to the quality of student journalism.
“I’m used to writing in very weird contexts.” Poet Brian Sonia-Wallace talks with Minnesota’s Star Tribune about his gig as the Mall of America’s first-ever writer in residence. Asked if he’ll go crazy during his several-day-long tenure, Sonia-Wallace answered “probably” (via Bookforum). Our own Marie Myung-Ok Lee had some opinions back when the residency was first announced.
Our own Emily St. John Mandel is in conversation with Laura van den Berg over at the FSG blog. “We have such a mania for classification, don’t we? Everything just seems so black-or-white, one-or-zero, genre-or-literary sometimes, and I don’t think those divisions are especially helpful.” The authors are Year in Reading alumni, and you can check out Mandel’s and van den Berg’s posts at the respective links.
“According to an interview with her publishers in the Italian literary newsletter Il Libraio, translated in The Guardian, Ferrante is putting pen to paper once more.” A year after Elena Ferrante‘s alleged true identity was revealed by a journalist, the intensely-private author is writing again but has no plans to publish a novel in 2018. Pair with: staff writer Marie Myung-Ok Lee‘s essay on Ferrante, privacy, and woman writers.
Ratik Asokan reviews Revulsion: Thomas Bernhard in San Salvador by Horacio Castellanos Moya, a story about dealing with the violence that permeates El Salvador’s culture. “Fiction, unlike journalism, has allowed Moya to express the frustration and existential terror of living in a society thoroughly permeated by violence.” Pair with our reviews of Moya’s Tyrant Memory and The Dream of My Return.
Putting aside for a moment the racist phrenological roots of the terms “highbrow” and “lowbrow,” here’s an interesting conversation on what the difference between them means for literature now. For a historical take, check out this graphic from a 1949 edition of LIFE magazine, which taught me a real gentleman wears fuzzy tweed, and iceberg lettuce is never in style.