If your characters go on a road trip, do you have to take one, too? When Mary Miller wrote The Last Days of California about a family driving from Alabama to California to meet the rapture, she hadn’t even been to the desert herself. To ensure it was accurate, though, she mapped important destinations on the route. “For Western Louisiana, I thought, ‘Is there actually a Waffle House within forty miles of this border?’ because I wanted it to be accurate. So I had maps, and I was tracking mileage,” she told Down & Out.
Has the drudgery of submitting poems, stories, and manuscripts ever gotten you down? Marlon James, author of the Booker Prize winner A Brief History of Seven Killings, had his first novel rejected by nearly eighty publishing houses. Here’s a take on self-publishing from The Millions if all of this has got you down.
After our plea to lift The Bluest Eye‘s recent ban, The Nation has also come to Toni Morrison’s defense. “This pervasive sexual violence is reality for tens of thousands of students, a reality the Ohio Board of Ed is looking to whitewash with this latest censorship drive,” Peter Rothberg writes.
“The Colbert Bump didn’t get so much media attention and public support because everyone wanted to talk about me and my novel. People wanted to support book culture, to say that books and writers matter, and that we should be doing everything we can to ensure their continued existence, if not their success. In short, The Book is not dead!” Our own Edan Lepucki and Stephan Eirik Clark talk about their experiences as debut authors on “The Colbert Bump,” and the piece pairs nicely with Edan and Millions staff writer Bill Morris‘s article about the many paths writers follow to publication.
Having grown up in Russia, New Republic senior editor Julia Ioffe is in a uniquely good position to cover the Sochi Olympics, which is why she’s writing regular dispatches from this year’s Winter Games. On Saturday, she published a piece about one of the sadder (yet more predictable) developments of the Games: foreign journalists are bombarding gay residents of Sochi with questions and requests for interviews. (She’s also manning the magazine’s Instagram feed.)
Recommended reading: Michael Booth writes for The Paris Review about the work of Danish author Aksel Sandemose and the “enduring mark on the national character” his satirical Jante Law has left.