Recommended Listening: David Naimon interviews Valeria Luiselli about her novel The Story of my Teeth, literary tradition, and the writing process. Pair with Lily Meyer’s Millions review of the novel.
The L.A. Times Book Prize finalists for 2013 have been announced. The five finalists in fiction are: Percival Everett’s Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs (also see her Year in Reading post), Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, Susan Steinberg’s Spectacle, and Daniel Woodrell’s The Maid’s Version. The winner will be announced on April 11.
Do our brains determine how we write? Joyce Dyer explores the possibility that genre is influenced by how our brains are wired but wonders if that limits us. “The page may be forcing compromises that the brain, in such close relationship with the mind, must rightly refuse,” she writes.
Two of my favorite writing contests are wrapping up this October. You have until the first of the month to enter the Missouri Review’s Editors’ Prize Contest. $5,000 will be awarded to the best fiction, essay, and poetry. Meanwhile, you have until October 31st to enter DIAGRAM’s Essay Contest, which is open to all types of essays such as those “in an expansive sense, meaning essay as experiment, essay as heterogenous and sometimes strange or unruly beast.” That contest’s prize is $1,000 plus publication.
“You know, it’s dangerous to focus on one person as a way of talking about a big system. But I think Kissinger reveals the system. He’s not singularly responsible for the system—if we expunge Kissinger from history, we still wouldn’t have a Virtuous Republic—but he illuminates it like nobody else.” Greg Grandin discusses his recent release, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, at The New Republic.