The 24 writers selected to be part of the first Amtrak Residency Program have been announced. For more about the residency check out our past coverage of the program and our own Nick Ripatrazone‘s essay on reading and writing on trains.
Catching you up to speed with two recent literary controversies: 1) Poets & Writers‘ MFA rankings kerfuffle gets a climactic and eloquent summary from The Missouri Review‘s Michael Nye. 2) In response to her Salon article, “How the National Book Awards made themselves irrelevant,” Victor LaValle has some fightin’ words for Laura Miller.
At the LA Times, Scott Esposito gives David Lipsky‘s Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace a mixed review.
This week, Allison K. Gibson looked into the “awkward but necessary role of technology in fiction,” and what it means to include it or overlook it in a given work of fiction. Similarly, what’s with the absence of birth scenes in literature?
Tim Parks investigates the idea of “writing to death” in the cases of Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens and William Faulkner. “So many of the writers I have looked at seem permanently torn between irreconcilable positions,” Parks writes. “Eventually, the dilemma driving the work either leads to death, or is neutralized in a way that prolongs life but dulls the writing” (Bonus: Our own Mark O’Connell just reviewed Parks’s latest book, Italian Ways.)
This fall, Marilynne Robinson will mark her return to a fictional plains town in Iowa with the publication of Lila, the third novel in her Gilead series. Expect the novel to be featured in our forthcoming Great Book Preview, but if you can’t wait until then, you’ve got to check out FSG’s exclusive excerpt from the book.