This year’s Tournament of Books comes to an end today, after nearly a month of analyses, debates and thoughtful arguments. In the final round, Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life squares off with James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, both of which are, in Héctor Tobar’s words, “unorthodox, historical novels.” Now that the verdicts are in, the only question is: who won? (You could also read the quarterfinal judged by our own Lydia Kiesling.)
“Any day’s news supplies plots so fantastic that most make-believe story lines pale in comparison.” Author John Altman in the LA Times about the difficulty of writing fiction during Trump’s presidency. “My current novel-in-progress concerns North Korea,” writes Altman, “and each day’s headlines endanger its premise. But too much second-guessing hobbles a writer. One can only take a deep breath, remind oneself that war with North Korea would jeopardize much more than a humble spy thriller, and forge ahead, hoping for the best.”
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revisions, correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, homemade chapbooks in which Brooks neatly handwrote her earliest (unpublished) poems, and heavy bronze awards ensconced in velvet-lined boxes collected later in her career.”
People Who Eat Darkness author Richard Lloyd Parry’s forthcoming book on the Tōhoku earthquake and its aftermath, Ghosts of the Tsunami, will be released some time in late summer/early fall, and BBC Radio put together a 30-minute teaser to tide you over until then. You can also check out Parry’s moving yet unsettling piece for the London Review of Books.
The Swiss foundation Anne Frank Fonds is attempting to extend the copyright of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl by crediting Anne’s father as a co-author — even though Otto Frank writes in the prologue to the first edition that the book mostly contains Anne’s words.