“I never thought of myself as an outsider. Because outside of what? You would have to give advantage to this space where you’re not, to think of it as sovereign because you’re not there. I was always in the center of where I needed to be.” Aleksander Hemon on writing his new book.
Have novels about love lost their gravitas as women’s liberation and divorce culture have taken over? Adelle Waldman doesn’t think so. In The New Yorker, she defends the timelessness of the marriage plot. “As long as marriage and love and relationships have high stakes for us emotionally, they have the potential to offer rich subject material for novelists, no matter how flimsy or comparatively uninteresting contemporary relationships seem on their surface.” Pair with: Our Jeffrey Eugenides essay on writing The Marriage Plot, which is referenced several times in Waldman’s essay.
The CIA might just be America’s most literary government agency, no? Not only did they (maybe) help fund the early days of The Paris Review but, according to Eric Bennett, the group also funded the nation’s most prestigious and storied creative writing program. Over on Iowa Public Radio, you can hear some details.
Need some great book recs for the summer? Want to hear them from the likes of Emma Straub and our own C. Max Magee? Then mark your calendars for June 18th, when Symphony Space and The Millions are hosting a summer edition of Thalia Book Club. (If you’re interested, get your tickets now — they could easily sell out quickly.)
“Being someone who’s an outsider, there are so many ways in which the world acts on you or assigns narratives to you.” Literary Hub interviews author Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi about literature, identity, and her new novel, Call Me Zebra. From our archives: Nur Nasreen Ibrahim‘s review of Call Me Zebra.
“We all use a ‘persona’ or mask, to some degree, all the time,” writes poet Robert Pinsky as he challenges the notion—widely held in English classes throughout the world—that a poem’s “speaker” is necessarily separate from a poem’s author. The latest release from Pinsky, the former Poet Laureate of the United States, is Selected Poems, and you can hear him read some excerpts in this video.