Nell Zink, whose second novel comes out next week, has one of the lit world’s more unusual origin stories. An expat in Germany, she wrote her first novel in three weeks, after striking up a friendship over email with Jonathan Franzen. In the latest New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz details her story in full. You could also read Emily Gould’s recommendation of her work for Year in Reading.
I really dug this write up of a visit by Edward P. Jones to a Seattle high school, where he talked to some kids about being a writer. I'm fascinated by Jones' persona. He's not a hermit, but neither is he a part of the more public contemporary literary crowd, all of whom seem to be associated with the same causes and who enjoy this sort of literary pseudo-fame while at the same time making a bit of a show about shying away from it. Of course I'm overgeneralizing here, but I'm sure you can think of some writers who might fit that description. I suppose my larger point is Jones seems to me to be a writer who, in an earlier time, would have only achieved fame late in his career or even posthumously, and I'm just really glad that he has gotten the acclaim that he deserves.I saw the movie Fever Pitch last night and enjoyed the way last year's baseball season was woven into the story so well. It also made me very curious to read Nick Hornby's novel by the same name, in which the protagonist is a rabid soccer fan. I'm not a big Hornby fan, but I'm very curious to see if they managed to swap out the sport at the center of the story while keeping the same overall feeling. Quite a feat if they managed to do a good job of it. One thing is clear though, trying to slap a movie tie-in cover on Hornby's book wouldn't have worked very well.Rodger Jacobs has set up a blog to track entries in his "Fitzgerald in Hollywood Short Fiction Contest."Chicagoist looks at books "with local ties." I've read All This Heavenly Glory and Gods in Alabama, but the third book The Week You Weren't Here by Charles Blackstone sounds interesting.
Recommended Reading: Sarah Sansolo on her childhood obsession with Britney Spears.
This fall, Marilynne Robinson will mark her return to a fictional plains town in Iowa with the publication of Lila, the third novel in her Gilead series. Expect the novel to be featured in our forthcoming Great Book Preview, but if you can’t wait until then, you’ve got to check out FSG’s exclusive excerpt from the book.
Remember when Chipotle started publishing famous authors like Toni Morrison, George Saunders, and Neil Gaiman on their cups and burrito-toting bags? Well, now's your chance to join them. The fast-food chain is holding a contest for student writers, and the prizewinning responses to the prompt "write about a time when food created a memory" will be printed on those same cups and brown paper bags across the country. Oh, and there's a $20,000 scholarship, too.