Mozambican author Mia Couto has won the 2014 Neustadt Prize. The prize, which awards the recipient $50,000 and is sponsored by the University of Oklahoma, recognizes exceptional fiction writers, poets and playwrights from around the world. Pair with Philip Graham’s Millions essay on Couto.
George Packer at Lapham’s Quarterly writes of meeting a young Burmese reader of Charles Dickens: “‘All of those characters are me,’ [he] explained. ‘Neither a British nor American young man living in the twenty-first century can understand a Dickens as well as I can…I am more equipped to understand Dickens than modern novels. I don’t know what is air conditioning, what is subway, what is fingerprint exam.’” (via Book Bench)
Recommended Listening: Ben Lerner stops by The New Yorker’s fiction podcast to discuss “Woven, Sir,” a story by John Berger.
As you may have heard from our own Bill Morris, The Canyons, the new movie starring James Deen and Lindsey Lohan, is a bad film that somehow manages to be worth watching anyway. At the LARB, Naomi Fry agrees with this assessment, arguing that the film is important because it “identifies how desperately many of us still want to believe that the larger-than-life, commodified good life is still available to us.”
For every reader who grew up enamored with LeVar Burton‘s now-cancelled PBS show, Reading Rainbow, there’s fresh hope. A Kickstarter campaign to create a spin-off, web-based version of Reading Rainbow that aims to spread literacy to children in under-served schools was launched yesterday and has already received a significant portion of its funding goal. While there are some concerns about the project, the nostalgia factor is incredibly strong, and who doesn’t want to spread the love of reading to children?