Recommended Reading: Brett Elizabeth Jenkins’s poem “To Get to Zen” at Paper Darts. “you must first lose your/shit in an elevator/in front of a man you do not know.”
Finalists for the Center For Fiction’s First Novel Prize—including Sophie McManus, Ben Metcalf, Lori Ostlund, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Chigozie Obioma, Tanwi Nandini Islam, and Angela Flournoy—discuss the books that made them the writers they are today. Pair with our own Nick Ripatrazone’s recent article on authors’ favorite childhood books.
Iowa City, which is one of six UNESCO Cities of Literature, will honor renowned Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor with a memorial reading this Monday, October 14. Awoonor was among those killed in the attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The reading, which will be hosted by Awoonor’s nephew, Kwame Dawes, will take place on the University of Iowa campus, but it will also be open to anybody with an internet connection. People are invited to tune in to the event’s streaming webcast, and also to submit questions for Dawes online to the @UIIWP Twitter account by utilizing the #Awoonor hashtag.
You'll have to read this Curiosity to believe it! The surprise bestselling Time-Life series was wildly popular in the late 80s–but why? The answer is a bit less mysterious than one might have hoped. As a consolation, here’s a related essay from The Millions on conspiracy literature.
Good news! According to Vinson Cunningham’s new essay in The New Yorker, beauty merely “masks and perfumes ... it freezes moral categories in place,” whereas ugliness, on the other hand, “is sometimes the closest thing to the truth.” Wait, is that good news? Bonus: Vinson wrote a Year in Reading piece for us.