Writers have long been attracted to duels, if only because, for the most part, they offer an easy way to ramp up the conflict in a story. At Page-Turner, James Guida takes a look at their enduring relevance, with reference to the history of the duel in Europe. Pair with: our own Nick Moran on duels in Russian literature.
Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s moving speech at The Sunday Times Literary Awards in which he speaks about the resilience of literature and the necessity of keeping less-popular languages alive is now available online. (Here’s our handy guide to pronouncing the author’s name, in case you were too embarrassed to ask.)
Back in April, Dreamworks announced its plans to adapt Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell for the silver screen, with the author writing the script. A few months later, Rowell published a new book, Landline, that marked a return to adult fiction. At The Rumpus, Amanda Green sits down with the author to talk about YA, her productivity and the importance (or not) of getting up early to write. FYI, our own Janet Potter reviewed Eleanor and Park and Fangirl.
Though major publications like The New York Times are still questioning the importance and power of female essayists, Lucy Scholes argues that women are producing “some of the best writing today” and as proof lists several of the best recent essay collections by women in a piece for The Daily Beast. Incidentally, that list includes titles such as The Empathy Exams and The Opposite of Loneliness, both of which were reviewed for The Millions (here and here, respectively).
Recommended Listening: Ben Lerner stops by The New Yorker’s fiction podcast to discuss “Woven, Sir,” a story by John Berger.
Forget “Gangnam Style.” The next Korean musical craze should involve the sijo (pronounced “shee-jo”), a type of poem dating back to the 1300s, and, “up until the 20th century … was mostly composed and sung, not written and published.” You can listen to a performance of Yi Cho’nyön’s “Moonlight Pear Blossoms” over here.