Recommended Reading: Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel on why jihadists write poetry.
The theatrical trailer for the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey was released this week. If you’re keeping track, that means we’ve now got a film based on fan fiction written about another film adapted from a schlocky romance novel involving vampires. (Come at me, Twilight fans.)
"I’ve learned that people—writers and non-writers alike—don’t like that word. Failure.... I take a bizarre pleasure, now, in using that word. Maybe because during my decade as a failed writer, the one thing that took the edge off was wallowing in that failure—carefully, in a proscribed fashion, like having a drink when you’re still hungover." Stephanie Feldman writes for Vol. 1 Brooklyn about being a literary failure, about the two books she wrote and never published, and about the one she finally did. Pair with the stories of these 5 writers and their failed "novels in drawers."
"Why, for instance, did I dream I had surged up through the lawn of Toronto’s Victoria College and clomped into the library, decomposing and covered with mud? The librarian didn’t notice a thing, which, in the dream, I found surprising. Was this an anxiety dream? If so, which anxiety?" Margaret Atwood's dream diary.
"[E]ven though he was already sick with the illness that would eventually become the tuberculosis that killed him, Orwell left London to live on the Scottish island of Jura (off and on) for the next few years, where he could try to focus on writing fiction instead of journalism." Nathan Gelgud creates a wonderful illustrated origin story of 1984 for Signature Reads. Pair with this piece on the fall (literally) of the ur-Orwellian home.
For close to two decades now, the Rona Jaffe Foundation has honored “women writers of exceptional talent in the early stages of their careers” with annual Writers’ Awards worth $30,000 each. This year, the winners are Tiffany Briere (fiction/nonfiction); Ashlee Crews (fiction); Kristen Dombek (nonfiction); Margaree Little (poetry); Kirsten Valdez Quade (fiction); and Jill Sisson Quinn (nonfiction). The winners accepted their awards in a private ceremony on the 19th.
n+1's Research Collective has posted the introduction to Ellen Willis's No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays (1992), and plans to post a series of essays by the seamless activist and writer-- "Her refusal to subsume her personality to a movement, or to ignore the things that were important to her, remains an inspiration."