Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Alan McPherson has passed away at 72. His anthology Elbow Room won the Pulitzer for fiction in 1978. He was one of the first individuals to receive a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation. He graduated from Harvard Law school, but instead decided to pursue writing and later earned an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he was a professor emeritus.
James Franco isn’t done with William Faulkner’s oeuvre just yet. After screening his adaptation of As I Lay Dying (trailer here) at the Cannes Film Festival this year, Franco announced that he plans on bringing The Sound and the Fury to the big screen next.
“It was just one small sign in a bustling city. But it was a sign, nevertheless, that Florence has not forgotten the Brownings after all.” In the New York Times, novelist Ann Mah explored Florence looking for signs of the literary couple who called it home for many years: Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. From our archives: a more sober look at the famed city.
“Usually, with a novel, you start with no idea what to do because your job is to create convincing characters and then they just run around getting crazy. The problem with writing a memoir, obviously, is you can’t do that because you sort of know what’s going to happen. Because you’re the character.” – Gary Shteyngart
Millions staff writer Michael Bourne wrote a sobering piece for Canada’s Globe and Mail about the need for stricter gun control in the United States. “I can implore my new neighbours to maintain strict controls on guns,” he writes. “All our children’s lives depend upon it.”
Does getting up early make you a better writer? Not necessarily according to Maria Popova’s infographic of authors’ wake up times paired with their overall productivity (books published and awards won). The findings: Writers who sleep in write more but win fewer awards than early birds. Our conclusion: Just get up whenever you want.
“Since the middle of the 20th century, the academy has conditioned us to stay grounded within texts and steer clear of writers’ biographies for insights while biographers are often timid about the kind of playful speculation that we can undertake here in Slate. Readers, myself included, tend to wonder about the sources for characters the likes of Kurtz, Sherlock Holmes, and Jay Gatsby—larger-than-life, mysterious, existing on a kind of separate plane—and in doing so we are continuing the quests of the narrators who tried first (Marlow, Watson, and Carraway).” Matthew Pearl asks: was Robert Louis Stevenson the blueprint for Conrad‘s Kurtz?