This week in lit news: VIDA, the organization that’s been counting appearances by women writers in major literary journals since 2010, will expand their 2014 count to include data on race/ethnicity.
“We are here to take creative risks and to do the sort of work that commercial broadcasters might be more reluctant to do. But we also have a real responsibility and a requirement to reflect a range of British communities.” Bestill our hearts, the BBC is adapting Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy as its first period drama with a non-white cast, reports The Telegraph. Our own Lydia Kiesling described Seth's epic as "a spectacularly romantic novel, weddings all over," but noted sadly that "it portends falling in love with the man you can marry, in lieu of the one that you can’t."
Months after 60 Minutes aired its damning profile of Central Asia Institute's founder Greg Mortensen (Three Cups of Tea), the American Institute for Philanthropy has called for his resignation. The call comes on the heels of Jon Krakauer's investigation into Mortensen's use of the CAI's finances.
Looking to get into Philip Roth? Not sure where to start in the perennial Nobel favorite’s massive ouevre? Thankfully, the novelist Gabriel Roth is here, swooping in with the only guide you’ll ever need. He explains why Portnoy’s Complaint made the splash it did, why Goodbye, Columbus put Roth on the map, and why the character of David Kepesh is critical to understanding Roth’s legacy. Related: Keith Meatto picks out ten lessons from the author's work.
"He wrote the first drafts by hand, and when that became too difficult, dictated sections of the book into a tape recorder." Before his death in July, playwright and actor Sam Shepard wrote a novel called Spy of the First Person, which is forthcoming from Knopf in December. From our archives, a list of writers who also act.
In 2013, Mo Yan became China’s first resident Nobel Laureate in Literature, which prompted a huge swell of interest in his books in the West. In the Times, Janet Maslin reviews Frog, his latest novel to get an English translation. Sample quote: “Mo Yan, whose real name is Guan Moye, says everything he needs to about the Cultural Revolution with a scene in which Tadpole and other schoolboys eat coal and claim to find it delicious.” You could also read Alan Levinovitz on modern Chinese literature.
In celebration of Jewish Book Month, Ruchama King Feuerman—featured at Bloom in January—will go on tour to read & discuss her novel In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist. The tour kicks off today at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Book & Arts Fair in Houston; check NYRB’s event page for more upcoming appearances.