Over at Buzzfeed, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah travels to James Baldwin’s home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, and explores his life as an expat. She writes, “Baldwin left the States for the primary reason that all emigrants do — because anywhere seems better than home.” Pair with Justin Campbell Millions essay on Baldwin and fatherhood.
When Belarusian investigative journalist Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize earlier this year, her horrifying and poetic book Voices From Chernobyl exposed a great many readers to the Chernobyl disaster. Now, this piece from The Atlantic takes a look at Chernobyl’s literary legacy over the past three decades.
Mary Ruefle, author of the forthcoming Madness, Rack, and Honey, wrote a poetic essay on the subject of fear. It’s chock full of lines like this one about why she likes the word dread more than the word fear: “because fear, like the unconscious emotion which is one of its forms, has only the word ear inside of it, telling an animal to listen, while dread has the word read inside of it, telling us to read carefully and find the dead, who are also there.”
“Her pincers tore at me… I stormed her openings as if she was a beleaguered fortress.” We’re wincing-slash-laughing at Lapham’s Quarterly‘s infographic of authors’ attempts to put sex down on the page throughout history. Pair with author Julia Fierro‘s great piece about trying to *do it* in her first novel.
What writers are actually earning money? Over at Electric Literature, Lincoln Michel takes a look at the new Author Earnings report, which scours Amazon bestseller lists and extrapolates the data to make claims about the state of publishing and self-publishing. Here’s an older Millions piece by Edan Lepucki on self-publishing as supplemental and influential to the traditional route.
Did your MFA program offer impractical courses like “Problems in Modern Fiction”? At the Ploughshares blog, Rebecca Makkai offers some suggestions for more useful classes, such as “Introduction to Despair,” “Pretending You’re Talking to Terry Gross When You’re Alone in the Car,” and “The Art of the Flirty Author Photo Grimace.” Pair with: Our interview with Makkai.