We can’t stop gobbling up Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, but we also won’t stop asking who Elena Ferrante really is. Why do we need to know the author’s true identity, asks Electric Literature? (Our own Michael Schaub revealed that he was Elena Ferrante earlier this year.)
Recommended Reading: Maria Konnikova on “flow” and first-person shooters.
This year, the good folks at Slate and the Whiting Foundation kicked off a new literary prize, intended to reward authors for great second novels. To wrap up the year, they’ve asked several winners of the prize, including Akhil Sharma, Helen DeWitt and Daniel Alarcon, to write short pieces about objects that symbolize the writing process for their books. (Akhil Sharma chooses a stopwatch, while Eileen Myles chooses a can of Cafe Bustelo.)
“For the first half of a new book, maybe you want your back against the wall. Gunslinger style. Nothing can sneak up on you except your own bad sentences,” Colson Whitehead said. He and four other authors discussed where they like to write in The New York Times. Bonus: See where our writers work.