I’ve long thought that New Orleans is the greatest city in America and that it’s nigh impossible to make it much better. That was before Tulane University announced that Salvage the Bones and Men We Reaped author Jesmyn Ward will be joining their faculty. Let it be thus known: on July 1, 2014, New Orleans will get even better than I could’ve imagined.
Jennifer Egan recently spoke with Willing Davidson, fiction editor of The New Yorker, as part of Rewiring the Real, a yearlong series of podcasts with writers about the interplay of literature, technology and religion. Rachel Hurn, a former Millions intern, was there and noted Egan’s ambivalence towards “personal writing.” [Updated to correct the quote] “If writing necessarily meant writing about myself, then I’d rather do something else,” Egan said.
You might never be able to finish Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, but you can stay in his hotel. France is marketing its literary heritage with hotels named after famous authors. At the aforementioned Marcel, guests can stay in rooms named after Proust characters. If you aren’t a fan of madeleines, you can check into the R Kipling or Le Pavillon des Lettres.
“The demagogic spirit of the ‘radio priest’ Father Charles Coughlin and the ‘minister of hate’ Gerald L.K. Smith has been reborn in the candidacy of Donald Trump, just as the exhortations of the Louisiana boss and rabble-rouser Huey Long, who declared war on ‘the superrich’ and proposed a ‘Share Our Wealth Society,’ all but predicted Bernie Sanders’s attack on ‘the billionaire class.'” Examining what political books can tell us about the election season with Sam Tanenhaus at The New York Times.
“Once certain hurdles are cleared (a bit of talent, years of work), being a writer is like flying a kite in a storm in a field full of people flying kites in a storm.” Garth Greenwell on writing his first novel, the importance of failure, and giving oneself privacy to make mistakes. Pair with Meredith Turits’s Millions piece, featuring six writers looking back on their first novels.
“Born Guan Moye, he chose his pen name—“Don’t Talk”—to honor his mother’s caution against talking too much and in sardonic recognition of his failure to heed her warning. Yet I have been struck by his quiet and unassuming presence at literary conferences in Beijing, where he offered kind encouragement in private meetings but evinced a shy persona in public.” On the contradictions of last year’s Nobel laureate, Mo Yan.