Next year marks the 20th anniversary of David Foster Wallace‘s Infinite Jest. To celebrate, Little, Brown is holding a cover design contest, with a $1,000 grand prize. Also, you know, the pride of seeing Infinite Jest published in your cover. Whatever, no big deal.
The premier English-language translator of modern Chinese fiction, Howard Goldblatt, says flatly that Western audiences don’t read Chinese books. However, with last year’s Nobel Prize win for Mo Yan (and the rave review his novel Pow! received in the Times), Goldblatt and other scholars are hoping that could change.
Novelists, poets, and playwrights aren’t the only people who can call themselves writers. Don’t forget the oft begrudged screenwriters. The New York Times highlights 14 of this year’s best screenwriters, including Julie Deply and Seth Rogen, and asks them for writing advice and one original line of dialogue for some excellent short films. Our favorite short film is Robert Redford’s.
“Writers are not often great lovers but pathological inventors of explanations. Sex induces a kind of cowardice in them, a fear of experimentation, of being vulnerable, of stepping naked onto the stage to examine all the presumptions that pass without question when everyone still has their pants on.” Michael Thomsen makes the case that dating writers is a bad idea.
“I couldn’t tell if a poem I was writing would come to anything or not until the last line was there. That’s always been my method. I may have revised less than some other poets, but I think I write as much crap as anyone.” Kaveh Akbar interviews Sharon Olds about inspiration, contemporary poetry, and rejection letters for Divedapper. Pair with this Millions piece, featuring seven editors looking back on their rejection styles.
Free e-book bibliophiles rejoice, you now have yet another place to download public domain e-books. The Digital Reader reports on Standard Ebooks, a volunteer-based project to “produce a collection of high quality, carefully formatted, accessible, open source, and free public domain ebooks that meet or exceed the quality of commercially produced ebooks.” Pair with our post from a decade back about Project Gutenberg’s pubbing of “2 B R 0 2 B,” a “lost” story by Kurt Vonnegut.