Heads up! Fantasy Magazine is looking for submissions for their special issue, “People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy.” Per the guidelines: “We’re looking for original, unpublished fantasy stories of up to 7500 words written by People of Colo(u)r. The stories can be set in this world with fantastical elements or they can take place in another world entirely. Please avoid timeworn cliches like the White Savior, the Magical Negro, and the Woman Who Is Only A Sex Object.”
“Books can be dangerous objects–under their influence people start to wonder, dream, and think.” In “celebration” of Banned Book Week, the New York Public Library has a quiz for you to find out how much you know about the freedom to read. See also our tribute to The Bluest Eye, one of the United States’ most challenged books.
“As I got older, the Nigerian scam artist turned into a meme. The ‘Nigerian prince’ became a joke tossed around by white people with the same ease that ‘Italian mobster’ jokes were likely tossed around in the ‘70s—but aided now by the internet. Whenever I came across casual references to my people as scam artists, I’d wince. There was more to us than the scam. Hell—there was even more to the scam.” On how novelist Teju Cole helped Ijeoma Oluo make peace with the Nigerian scam artist.
Recommended Reading: “The Misanthropic Genius of Joy Williams” in The New York Times Magazine. Her latest collection of short stories, The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories, which was included on our most anticipated list, will be released on September 8th. “When I asked Williams what she wants out of a great story, she replied, ‘I want to be devastated in some way.’”
The Bygone Bureau’s latest ebook, The Graduates, is intended to be “a response to all of these half-hearted pieces about how screwed Millennials are,” says editor Kevin Nguyen. “It’s true that graduating in 2009 didn’t provide the best job market, but in a lot of ways, those struggles have actually led to more interesting experiences and opportunities. And we wanted to capture that optimism.” You can catch two excerpts from the collection over here and over here.
In the latest issue of The Boston Review, Elaine Scarry reviews Steven Pinker’s
The Better Angels of Our Nature. Pinker argues that literature, by bolstering man’s empathy, has lead to huge reductions in worldwide violence, a thesis that sounds dangerously close to the absurd pop-science of Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal.