The introduction Junot Díaz wrote for Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop has been adapted as a contribution to the ongoing conversation (of which The Millions has been a part) about writing programs at large and about MFA vs. NYC specifically. At issue is Díaz’s (rightful) assertion that an important topic – diversity – hasn’t been adequately addressed in evaluations of the supposed program and publishing dichotomy thus far. (Related: Sandra Cisneros’s “I Hate the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.”)
Recommended Reading: A new story by Yuri Herrera for Granta Magazine, featuring “the prayer of the overheated-horndog”: “Oh please, oh please, oh please / May he, the drunken me / May he, the dumbfuck me / May he, the me who never ever ever knows where shit is / May / he have saved one / Just one / Lubricated or corrugated / Colored or flavored / Magnum or tight-fit / Oh please / Holy Saint of horndogs / Grant me just one condom.”
The New Yorker has published another recently discovered Shirley Jackson short story “The Man in the Woods,” a fairy tale that takes on some classic mythology. According to her son, it’s one of many new stories found in her archives, and we can expect a new collection next year. “What was surprising to us was not that she was so prolific and had left behind so much unseen work but, rather, the quality of that work,” Laurence Jackson Hyman said.
“Whatever the facts of her life – whether she turned out to be an ancient man living in the Icelandic interior or a woman waiting tables at a Texan diner – Ferrante writes in an autobiographical mode. That is fuel for the truthers, a sort of literary ankle-flashing. But it is also good cover for another motive: a very contemporary form of envy of another’s autonomous space and their creativity, a rage that while they give us their work, they will not also give us their person.” On a new collection of Elena Ferrante’s letters, interviews and short pieces.
Bet you didn’t know this Saturday was the 25th anniversary of the first “going postal” shootings in Oklahoma. I have a piece at The Morning News examining America’s export of this peculiar brand of spree killings around the world, most recently to Oslo, Norway.
New this week: Moonglow by Michael Chabon; I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb; Morning, Paramin by Derek Walcott and Peter Doig; Selected Poems 1968-2014 by Paul Muldoon; and a new Richard Pevear translation of Alexander Pushkin’s complete prose. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest fiction and nonfiction book previews.
“And then Obama comes over to my desk with the speech, and he has a few edits. And he’s like, ‘I just want to go through some of these edits and make sure you’re ok with this. I did this for this reason. Are you ok with that?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, buddy. You’re Barack Obama.’” Jon Favreau, former chief speechwriter to President Obama, sits down with Longform.