“In creative writing, I teach that characters arise out of our need for them. By now, the person I created in New York was the only one I wanted to be. …Eight years after reaching the end of myself, I was on borrowed time. Whether it was in a plane or a coffin, I knew I had to get out of Jamaica.” Marlon James, author of The Book of Night Women, which once gave me so much trouble, and whose novel A Brief History of Seven Killings the Book Report covered here, writes for the New York Times Magazine about leaving Jamaica to find himself in Minnesota.
The new film by master indie director John Sayles, Amigo, will premiere in New York on August 10th as the opening night presentation of the Asian American International Film Festival. Tickets just went on sale here; Sayles will be appearing in-person for a Q&A. “Amigo” is Sayles’s 17th feature film and a kind of historical companion piece to his recently released epic novel, A Moment in the Sun, published by McSweeney’s.
Authors are known to mine material from their personal relationships for their writing, but John Updike found inspiration from his interviews. After journalist William Ecenbarger wrote a profile of Updike in 1983, he found himself the subject of an Updike short story. Pair with: Our review of Updike’s Collected Stories.
VIDA, an organization that promotes gender parity in the literary arts, has tallied up the 2011 bylines and book reviews from some of the bigger magazines . Granta was the only publication to achieve parity, but they did have an issue devoted entirely to feminism, so that may be skewing the numbers. The Atlantic, The London Review of Books, and Harper’s are not making the cut. While institutionalized misogyny in any profession presents a problem, gender quotas are probably not the answer.
The Oxford University Press blog has a never-before-published poem by Dorothy Wordsworth. She constructed the piece in 1839 while suffering from arteriosclerosis and dementia because “there was a therapeutic dimension both in creating and ‘performing’ poetry,” writes Lucy Newlyn.
William Stuntz’s book The Collapse of American Criminal Justice investigates “how, over the past 50 years, our criminal justice system had been transformed into an unfair, amoral bureaucracy–one that had given up on the very idea of justice.” Its genesis is worth reading about. So, too, is this related article in the most recent edition of n+1, “Raise the Crime Rate.”
The Outlaw Sea author William Langewiesche has a new ebook out in the “Single” format, Finding the Devil: Darkness, Light, and the Untold Story of the Chilean Mine Disaster, about the 2010 disaster that left 33 miners trapped for nearly two months.