For years, Jang Jin Sung traveled within Kim Jong-il’s inner circle. As North Korea’s official poet laureate, he was tasked with “writing epic poems for [the] dictator … and overseeing inter-Korean espionage.” But in 2004, fearing a charge of treason, Sung fled the country, becoming one of the nation’s most high-profile defectors. Recently, Sung – who just published his memoir – spoke with Maclean’s about his life, his escape, and literature.
The reach of literary Brooklyn grows ever larger, as local hub BookCourt mounts a $300,000 campaign to convert the "Bibliobarn," 160 miles north in the Catskills, into a "bookshop, event space, and writers' retreat." Upstaters, lock up your house-cured salume and artisinally sharpened pencils!
How can we not link to this? Mickey Hess creates a mock-Millions essay in refashioning Cathy Day's essay about "the novel problem" in MFA programs as "The Light-Bulb Filament Problem: 7 Thoughts on Academia’s Sheet Metal Crisis." Clever response to the ongoing MFA debate or just plain silly?
Among Haruki Murakami’s many significant literary achievements is the fact that the author has – since the 1990s – become “responsible for triggering and fueling the Japanese literature boom in South Korea.” Indeed, by “creat[ing] bonds of shared emotions and literary sensibilities among tens of millions of people with different cultural and historical backgrounds,” writes Yoon Sang-In, “Murakami’s literary works have emerged as a great cultural asset that contributes to stability in [the East Asian] region.” (Bonus: Murakami’s latest book – which will be published in the States in 2014 – is flying off the shelves in Japan.)
Two newlyweds who hated The Little Prince held their marriage reception in the restaurant where Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote the book. Read about how their experience changed their opinions of the book. You could also read our own Matt Seidel’s essay on non-traditional marriage proposals in literature.
"I didn’t know who William Kelley was when I found that book but, like millions of Americans, I knew a term he is credited with first committing to print. 'If You’re Woke, You Dig It' read the headline of a 1962 Op-Ed that Kelley published in the New York Times, in which he pointed out that much of what passed for “beatnik” slang (“dig,” “chick,” “cool”) originated with African-Americans." Are you familiar with William Kelley? Let Kathryn Schulz be your guide on this historical literary adventure as she discovers an immensely influential writer whom most of us have never heard mentioned.