“I cannot help feeling, on being invited to contextualize my own fiction, that the least qualified person possible has been asked. It is more still: hesitance, dread, that as a blind man in a failing aircraft I have been offered the yoke. I imagine it is the same for other writers, for the very fact that you write a story, and not a critical essay, suggests that near everything you hope to say lies outside the bounds of explicit statement.” Despite all that, here’s an essay by Greg Jackson at Granta in which he attempts to contextualize his own fiction.
One Goodreads vigilante has created a master list of authors notorious for responding immaturely or meanly to negative reviews of their work. Elsewhere, iDreamBooks, a new Rotten Tomatoes-type service, was launched. The site aggregates critics’ book reviews and shows you what to read next.
“To translate the power of Tish and Fonny’s love to the screen in Baldwin’s image is a dream I’ve long held dear. Working alongside the Baldwin Estate, I’m excited to finally make that dream come true.” Oscar-winning Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is adapting James Baldwin's 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk for the screen, says The Hollywood Reporter. (He's also bringing Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad to visual life as well.)
Whatever your thoughts about the situation in Ukraine, you’ll feel for Year in Reading alum David Bezmozgis, who's been writing a novel for the past four years that takes place in Crimea. After nearly a half-decade in which few people he talked to even knew where Crimea was, recent events shone a spotlight on the place, which the author had thought of as “locked in a dismal kleptocratic stasis.” (You could also read our interview with the author.)
Calling all undergrads and grad students! McSweeney’s is holding their first-ever Student Short Story Contest. The grand prize -- $500 and publication in their 51st issue -- will go to the student who sends in the best story before the last day of August. Get cracking, but don’t go beyond their 7,500-word limit.