Phillip Pullman, author of the much-beloved His Dark Materials series, has resigned as a patron of the Oxford Literary Festival due to the festival’s practice of not paying its guest authors. This move comes only one week after Pullman and the Society of Authors released an open letter to The Publisher’s Association and the Independent Publisher’s Guild, demanding authors receive fair compensation for their work.
Perhaps the best mashup of highbrow and lowbrow to grace the cultural ether in recent years is this innovative scratch-and-sniff guide to becoming a wine expert. The book, which is exactly what you think it is, declares that “not all oaks are created equal” and includes a diagram of “all the smells in the world.” (Related: literary tourism at Suttree’s High Gravity Beer Tavern.)
“Why are people so preoccupied? What is genre in the first place? Who invented it? Why am I perceived to have crossed a kind of boundary?” Kazuo Ishiguro and Neil Gaiman discuss The Buried Giant, fantasy and genre for the New Statesman. Pair with our own Lydia Kiesling‘s review of the novel.
Sylvia Plath’s final days have long been a source of fascination and horror for many readers. In a forthcoming unauthorized biography of Plath’s husband Ted Hughes, it is claimed that one of Hughes’s more contentious poems, “Last Letter,” was written after an argument the couple had the night before Plath took her own life. Ted Hughes: An Unauthorized Life is out next week.
The latest installment of #LitBeat involves musings on puritanical projection, the phrases “ass-banging” and “mucus flaps” and a least one instance of the word “boner.” Our correspondent was there for The New Inquiry read along of Millions contributor Mike Thomsen’s new book, Levitate the Primate: Handjobs, Internet Dating, and Other Issues for Men.
“Classroom lessons may slip quickly through students’ fingers, but the classroom experience lingers in memory. Each teacher offers students a different model of authority and justice. We set our own standards of fairness and sometimes fail to honor them. A teacher swings a heavy club, and we can leave big, purple bruises if we’re not careful.” Ben Orlin writes for The Atlantic about becoming an unfair teacher and then resolving to improve. For more thoughts about teaching, be sure to check out our own Nick Ripatrazone‘s “55 Thoughts for English Teachers.“
Francis Ford Coppola’s movie adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road may finally see the light of day. The film, directed by Walter Salles and starring the likes of Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, and Steve Buscemi, could hit French theaters as early as March 23rd.