Elie Wiesel — Auschwitz survivor, Nobel Laureate, political activist, and author of Night — passed away yesterday at the age of 87. Here’s a quote that perfectly captures Wiesel’s essence, from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”
Nabokov played (and frequently wrote about) chess; J.K. Rowling plays Minecraft, though it has yet to appear in any kind of Harry Potter spin-off. And why shouldn’t she? After all, “there’s a long tradition of other authors turning to a variety of such games – mostly as light relief from their vocation, but also sometimes finding writerly inspiration.”
For close to two decades now, the Rona Jaffe Foundation has honored “women writers of exceptional talent in the early stages of their careers” with annual Writers’ Awards worth $30,000 each. This year, the winners are Tiffany Briere (fiction/nonfiction); Ashlee Crews (fiction); Kristen Dombek (nonfiction); Margaree Little (poetry); Kirsten Valdez Quade (fiction); and Jill Sisson Quinn (nonfiction). The winners accepted their awards in a private ceremony on the 19th.