J. K. Rowling will receive the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award “for her efforts to fight inequality and censorship”. Rowling joins the likes of Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, and Tom Stoppard. Our own Garth Risk Hallberg reflects on the magic of the Harry Potter series with librarian Cynthia Oakes.
Are people losing interest in fiction that “offers more questions than answers?” In her book Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, Jane Smiley suggested that modern readers have little taste for uncertainty. At The Rumpus, Rob Roberge asks how much this contributes to popular disinterest in literature.
Emoticons are unbelievably passé, right? And GIFs are just too much work, right? It’s time to better utilize our technological advancements. Behold The Sound-Word Index, a project by Blanche de Lasa, Stina Gromark, and James Godwin that can use “sound, volume and rhythm” to “help to translate our emotions hidden behind our screens.”
The New York Times gives Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch a well-deserved profile. I've mentioned before that his take down of the NCAA's corruption is astounding, but now's a good time to mention that his e-book, The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA, is even better. Branch also appeared on Wednesday night's "Colbert Report" to discuss the book.
Sherlock Holmes has solved his greatest mystery yet. It only took 125 years, but Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective is in the public domain. A federal judge has ruled that all Sherlock Holmes stories published before January 1, 1923 are no longer under U.S. copyright law.
Recommended recommendations: "Eight Excellent Literary Podcasts for Your Morning Commute."
“When is it plagiarism, when is it homage? Especially in creative writing, I get tripped up on this distinction. A trick for writer’s block: write an imitation, steal moves, learn by mimicry. For my own poem-writing, I turn to other texts all the time. I pull language, take a word I like, sometimes fragments of phrases and twist them. I get inspired, I want to model after poems I fell madly for.” On discovering another writer’s plagiarism.
There's a quiet war being waged against Wyoming's wild horse population, reports The Altantic's Andrew Cohen.