In 2004, much of the literary world celebrated the hundredth anniversary of Bloomsday, aka the setting of James Joyce’s Ulysses. This year, we’re celebrating the hundredth anniversary of Dubliners, which our own Mark O’Connell once described as “a collection which writers of the short story form seem basically resigned to never surpassing.” At The Paris Review Daily, Skippy Dies author Paul Murray writes about his history with the book. You could also try to pass our eccentric James Joyce quiz.
In The Morning News, Jessica Francis Kane asks where is the line drawn between literary fiction and historical fiction; why is historical fiction maligned; and what happens when you write a novel and one of the characters attends your reading?
Harvard and MIT are partnering for an MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) known as edX. Currently, similar offerings are available from Stanford, Princeton, UPenn, and the University of Michigan. Unfortunately edX and others like it will grade student papers by utilizing “crowd-sourcing” and “natural-language software.” Oh, geeze. Not that again.
The F.B.I. had a massive file on James Baldwin in the fifties and sixties. Among other things, their notes featured passages of surprisingly adept criticism, including an oddly in-depth look at sexuality in his work. You could also read Justin Campbell on race, fatherhood and Baldwin’s fiction.
When Maeve Binchy passed away two years ago, she left behind a novel, A Week in Winter, that appeared to cap off an accomplished 40-year career. It turns out her fans have more posthumous work to look forward to: a new 400-page story collection, Chestnut Street, that comes out on April 24th.
“You can only advocate for yourself when you know what it is you want from the experience. You’d be surprised by how many people go into this process and are unclear about what they hope to get out of it.” Over at the Amazon Author Insights blog, Katrin Schumann offers a checklist of seven tips to survive submitting your writing to editors, including this note about articulating your goals beforehand. (Ed. note: Amazon helps us pay the bills around here!)
“[B]eing twelve is its own psychosexual dystopian satire, and I was not in on the joke.” Abbey Fenbert writes for Catapult about Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World, reading-while-tween, and being a seventh-grade book censor. See also: our own brave editor-in-chief, Lydia Kiesling, on reading Huxley a week after last November’s election.