Do writers owe their readers engagement on social media? “Our sole obligation to readers is to write the best books that we possibly can,” our own Emily St. John Mandel told The Guardian. Pair with our piece on the best of literary Twitter.
Did you know there was such a thing as the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards? It’s true. Since 2007, Australia has named winners annually in six categories (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s fiction, young adult fiction, and Australian history) – and the prize money’s pretty good, too. Speaking of prizes, you might also want to check out the list of U.S. National Book Awards finalists here.
In the latest issue of the LRB, Jenny Diski comes to the defense of Liz Jones, a Daily Mail columnist and spiritual sibling to the far-too-beautiful-to-live Samantha Brick. Her takeaway after reading a column that got Jones into hot water? Diski “couldn’t see” what the pilloried writer had done wrong.
There was an interesting piece on the intangible economics of fine art in this weekend’s NYT Magazine that explains the difference between the markets for art and other luxury goods (like gold and property): “Because the art market isn’t regulated like financial securities, insider dealing is generally not illegal.”
On bad days, when his writer’s block was at its worst, Hart Crane wrote bizarre, feverish prose poetry as a way of juicing his creative synapses. Understandably, he never published this poetry, but now, thanks to the Harry Ransom Center, we can read it in its original form. Sample quote: “I held the crupper by a lasso conscripted from white mice tails spliced to the fore-top gallant.”
George Bernard Shaw had a strange relationship with Nietzsche. Alternately envious and dismissive of the German philosopher, Shaw once said he wanted to be an intellectual in Nietzsche’s mold, though he also felt Nietzsche’s thinking was addled and self-absorbed. In an essay for The New Statesman, Michael Holroyd tries to make sense of Shaw’s views.