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.
A collection of striking photos of numerous well-known contemporary writers, in two galleries. Somehow these pictures exude the literary.Blogger lonelysandwich makes the only half toungue-in-cheek observation that the original cover of tennis fan David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest shares a color scheme with those Andre Agassi Nikes that were all the rage in the early ’90s.George Saunders appeared on Letterman last week, as you may have heard. onegoodmove put the clip online.
Eleanor Catton has been getting a lot of press for being the youngest author ever to win the Man Booker prize, but she claims that the new fame is a mixed blessing that often brings up sexism. “In my experience, and that of a lot of other women writers, all of the questions coming at them from interviewers tend to be about how lucky they are to be where they are – about luck and identity and how the idea struck them,” she told The Guardian.
Three cheers for literary magazines, eh? Do yourself a favor and check out Tin House’s new Portland/Brooklyn issue (with mixtape to match!), DIAGRAM 12.4, Hobart’s revamped website (with daily content!), and the brand new Revolver magazine out in the Twin Cities.
“Publishers, writers, and readers alike really need to sit down and take this trend [the rise of self-publishing] seriously, rather than using the poetry.coms and AuthorHouses of the world as straw-men, scapegoats, piñatas, or other bludgeonable what-have-yous in the same tired and ineffectual arguments about how the Internet is ruining the publishing industry.”