Calling all undergrads and grad students! McSweeney’s is holding their first-ever Student Short Story Contest. The grand prize — $500 and publication in their 51st issue — will go to the student who sends in the best story before the last day of August. Get cracking, but don’t go beyond their 7,500-word limit.
“Art isn’t a footrace. No one comes in first place. Greatness is not a universally agreed-upon value. … America isn’t one story. It’s a layered and diverse array of identities, individual and collective, forged on contradictory realities that are imbued with and denied privilege and power. Our obsession with the Great American Novel is perhaps evidence of the even greater truth that it’s impossible for one to exist. As Americans, we keep looking anyway.” Cheryl Strayed and Adam Kirsch discuss the Great American Novel in this week’s New York Times Bookends. For a slightly different take, consider the 9 novels our experts chose as the Greatest American novels, from Moby-Dick to The Godfather.
“The most interesting writers we know, all asking and answering the same question: why can’t we stop watching cat videos?” Coffee House Press one-ups all boring Kickstarter campaigns with Catstarter, a campaign to fund a book on cat videos and “how we decide what is good or bad art, or art at all.”
“When gender’s not there, it sort of leaves room for us to focus on these other differences—and most of them end up being insignificant, too.” An interview with Emma Ramadan, translator of Anne Garréta’s Sphinx, on writing, translating, and understanding genderless characters.