Planning on writing a prison scene? Worried your characters might sound a bit unrealistic? Then see if you can get your hands on the Bonne Terre dictionary. Written by inmates at a prison in Louisiana, the dictionary includes such idiosyncratic terms as “boat,” meaning a plastic bed, and “pumpkin,” meaning a new inmate.
As Nick Richardson notes for the London Review of Books, Saul Bellow’s son, Adam, has his hands full these days. When he’s not maintaining a site devoted to conservative “literature,” he’s extolling the virtues of conservative fiction writers you “probably have never heard of — and won’t, if the powers that rule the lit-crit, fanfic, and commercial publishing worlds have anything to say about it.”
Are you a woman of color writer in need of the time and space provided by a writing retreat, ideally in October? Then you’re in luck, applications for the Jack Jones Literary Arts retreat have just opened! New York Times Magazine writer Jenna Wortham is this year’s Writer-in-Residence. Applications are due April 1st and there is a $35 application fee. But if you hurry you might be able to get your application fee waived thanks to generous donors. We urge you to apply now and wish you the best of luck!
Joe Fassler interviews recent MacArthur Genius and Year-in-Reading alum Viet Thanh Nguyen on the myth of overnight success, balancing an academic career while still finding time to write novels and the sacrifices all writers must make. Over at Electric Literature.