“A couple of years ago I attended a British Council discussion about the state of contemporary writing and the creative future in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. When someone brought up the dearth of memoirs in the Nigerian literary landscape, almost everyone in the room laughed ruefully. Someone joked aloud, ‘We can’t write memoirs. We’d have to wait for parents to die. Not just parents – everyone who knows us, even!’ This concern is not limited to nonfiction.” Bim Adewunmi writes for BuzzFeed on African immigrants’ stories.
“I suppose the truth is I became a little self-conscious about people telling me how much they loved my sentences,” says James Salter in his interview with Jonathan Lee. “It’s flattering, but it seemed to me that this love of sentences was in some sense getting in the way of the book itself.” As it happens, our own Sonya Chung reviewed Salter’s latest book this week, and she, too, remarked on Salter’s desire “to ‘get past the great writer-of-sentences thing,’ and presumably the ‘writers’ writer’ thing.”
Jonathan Lethem thinks his work is taken too seriously. “Well, I was just watching Richard Pryor, and he says, ‘When you’re dating a white woman, and people don’t like it, you can’t really pretend. You can’t go, “Oh, she’s not with me.”‘ ‘You write the big, ambitious books, right?’ Well, I guess they are,” he said in an interview with Salon. He also discusses being equated with Jonathan Franzen and his new novel, Dissident Gardens.
Consider these two Tumblrs as late additions to my three-part (one, two, three) taxonomy of literary blogs. Writers at Work is three years in the making, so we’re a bit late to the party, but Erasing Infinite, which creates erasure poems out of each page of Infinite Jest, looks like it’s got a long way to go before it’s finished.