Do people still need to study the humanities? You’d think the answer is “yes, of course,” but the issue is far more complicated than that. In a bid to sort it out, The New Republic recently asked a group of former university presidents to give their viewpoints on the matter. Sample quote: “Humanities faculty have too often conspired well.” Pair with: our own Nick Ripatrazone on coming to writing from outside the humanities.
The Guardian‘s Max Liu highlights several rising star Asian American authors, including Year in Reading 2017 participant Jenny Zhang. “After years on the peripheries of US fiction and poetry, Asian American authors have stepped into the spotlight during 2017. Books by writers of east and south-east Asian heritage are one of the hottest trends this year. […] Transcultural writers, born to immigrant parents in the US or immigrants themselves as children, they are channelling their experiences into writing that, with perfect historical timing, challenges readers to resist attacks on immigrants’ rights and to see refugees as individuals with unique stories.”
Just before he died earlier this year, Nobel winner Günter Grass completed his last manuscript, Vonne Endlichkait, “a literary experiment” that combines prose, poetry, and illustration. The book has just been published in German and will be available in English next year.
“While guys spent time in these Seg cells calling out chess moves over the walkways or doing push-ups until their veins bulged from their temples, I was in my cell pecking away trying to create a different world for myself. Some kind of way I felt I could rewrite my future.” For The New Yorker‘s Page-Turner blog, Daniel A. Gross tells the story of the Swintec Corporation, the nation’s sole supplier of clear typewriters, whose largest market is prisons. Pair with our own Bill Morris on using his Royal to write.
Did your MFA program offer impractical courses like “Problems in Modern Fiction”? At the Ploughshares blog, Rebecca Makkai offers some suggestions for more useful classes, such as “Introduction to Despair,” “Pretending You’re Talking to Terry Gross When You’re Alone in the Car,” and “The Art of the Flirty Author Photo Grimace.” Pair with: Our interview with Makkai.