“There are so many cool things going on in Spokane now that I have this overwhelming urge to attend a tractor pull.” Jess Walter has written an addendum to his essay “Statistical Abstract for My Home of Spokane, Washington.”
The literary archives of Gwendolyn Brooks – the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize – are headed to the University of Illinois Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The haul amounts to more than “150 boxes stuffed with manuscripts, drafts, revisions, correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, homemade chapbooks in which Brooks neatly handwrote her earliest (unpublished) poems, and heavy bronze awards ensconced in velvet-lined boxes collected later in her career.”
The Virginia Quarterly Review‘s Fall 2011 issue, “The Soviet Ghost“, is now available online. Not to be missed is Ed Ou’s heartbreaking essay and slideshow on how the Soviet government performed nuclear weapons tests on innocent Kazakh citizens. Dimiter Kenarov’s essay on Belarusian tractors is simultaneously a personal journey, an impressive work of history, and a good ol’ fashioned KGB crime story.
You’re probably up to your neck in World Cup coverage, but here are some gems well worth your attention no matter what: Teju Cole created a “Copa do Mundo do Brasil” playlist to set the mood; Pablo Torre’s one-sentence-long summation of Day One in São Paulo; an excerpt from Aleksandar Hemon’s The Matters of Life, Death, and More: Writing on Soccer; The New Republic’s round-up of “eleven writers and intellectuals on the World Cup’s most compelling characters“; and, of course, Shaj Mathew’s recent Millions review of Brazil’s Dance with the Devil.
“Setting is often the last piece of the jigsaw. I start somewhere else—with a kind of a premise, a set of relationships, a theme—and I often have a long period when I can’t figure out where the story should be put down. I find myself going location hunting. Not just for a time and place, but also for a genre, if you like.” Kazuo Ishiguro on the Hazlitt podcast. For more things Ishiguro, here is our own Lydia Kiesling’s review of Ishiguro’s latest novel, The Buried Giant.
Loudpoet has an interview with former Soft Skull Press publisher Richard Nash about his new social publishing venture Cursor. ““Social” is taking the book and making it much easier to have a conversation with the book and its writer, and have conversations around the book and its writer.” Is this a way forward for beleaguered publishers? (via The Lone Gunman)