Last month, while traveling through Des Moines, Iowa, President Barack Obama had the chance to interview one of his favorite authors: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson. The first part of the conversation was just published in the NYRB and the second part will appear in the next issue. Obama, who is a big fan of Robinson, had recently quoted her in his eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims in the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
After reading through two new biographies of Sylvia Plath — American Isis and Mad Girl’s Love Song — Terry Castle concludes that “nothing about her life or legacy seems wholesome or resolved.” (Related: our own Hannah Gersen talking with Pain, Parties, Work author Elizabeth Winder.)
“Scared of the living, scared of the dead, and even more scared of the dead who are immortal.” Chinese censors have cracked down on social media sites following the death and hushed burial-at-sea of writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo last week, reports The New York Times.
“I mostly find it sad. I understand that super religious people would not be there supporting it, but to go the extra mile to fight it when you could just not come kinda shocked me!” The Huffington Post reports on Brandon James, a drag performer whose plans to read to kids about acceptance at a North Carolina public library were scuttled after some of its patrons complained. We suppose the march of progress is never neat (via Book Riot).
To celebrate their thirteen-month anniversary, Open Letter Books is having a sale. Buy any two books from their catalog for $22, and you are also entered to win a free subscription for a full year of their titles. Don’t know where to start? Their books include Vilnius Poker, touted as the preeminent Lithuanian novel of the past twenty years, as well as Dubravka Ugresic’s formidable collection of essays, Nobody’s Home.