The Testament of Mary author Colm Tóibín was interviewed as part of the President’s Reading Series at Johns Hopkins University, and he spoke about the difference between “being a reader, and being an Irish reader.”
The second round of the Tournament of Literary Sex Writing, the aptly-named Erotic Eight, has kicked off over at The Literary Hub. This round is home to some downright ridiculous pairings (I’m looking at you, “Bram Stoker vs. James Baldwin as judged by Roxane Gay“) and the judges are as careful and attentive as ever.
Though major publications like The New York Times are still questioning the importance and power of female essayists, Lucy Scholes argues that women are producing “some of the best writing today” and as proof lists several of the best recent essay collections by women in a piece for The Daily Beast. Incidentally, that list includes titles such as The Empathy Exams and The Opposite of Loneliness, both of which were reviewed for The Millions (here and here, respectively).
The final PEN Literary Award Longlists are posted today! Check out all of the lists here. Longlisters include Angela Flournoy (whom we interviewed, and who has written a Year in Reading for us), Marilynne Robinson (who is known for her singular vision), Renata Adler (about whom we have made six possibly true observations), and David L. Ulin (whose Year in Reading is here).
Modern day celebrities aren’t the only victims of Photoshop. Paula Byrne, a Jane Austen biographer, believes that Austen has been “airbrushed” on her £10 Bank of England note. The portrait makes her look like “a pretty doll with big doe eyes” and diminishes her reputation as an author, Byrne argues.
Is the practice of using writing as a metaphor for birth, or birth as a metaphor for writing, in need of an overhaul? Stephanie Feldman for Electric Literature has some strong opinions on the subject. Motherhood on the brain, now? Check out this moving essay for The Millions on mothers and sons by Rachel Basch.