“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.
Jill Abramson, fired last week from her post as New York Times executive editor, broke her silence today with her commencement address at Wake Forest. “I’m talking to anyone who has been dumped,” she said. “Not gotten the job you really wanted or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school. You know, the sting of losing, or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.” Video here.
In 2002, the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, a Princeton professor and expert in judgement and decision-making, won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his research in behavioral studies. At the LARB, K.C. Cole ties his work to The Fate of Our Species, a new book by Fred Guterl.
If you’re struggling with your writing, turn to biographies of famous authors. This is Tom Perrotta’s cure for writer’s block. “It’s inspiring to read about a flawed human being who struggled with his or her demons and afflictions, experienced paralyzing episodes of failure or self-doubt, but somehow managed to do the work anyway, and produce something that enriched the world. That’s my version of self-help,” he said in a New York Times “By the Book” interview.
The New York Times looks back on Nora Ephron’s career and celebrates her distinct tone. EW has collected some of the best quotes from her books. Ariel Levy recalls her first encounter with Ephron’s “funny, frank, self-effacing but never self-pitying, and utterly intimate” voice.
A teacher’s charming poem in which he winds the imaginative grammar and spelling of his students into a feast of clever words. (via)A cornucopia of palindromes. “Rot can rob a born actor” and many, many more. And don’t miss the Palindrome Drama at the end of the page.Stephen Schenkenberg looks at how people find his blog… “how+do+you+construct+buried+alive+escape+tunnel” ???The 13-number ISBN is the book industry’s Y2K. For more details, see my post from 2004.Ed plumbs bad Amazon reviews, a never-ending ending font of humor.
At The Washington Post, Michael Dirda on the dissolute genius Thomas De Quincey (opium addict, original chronicler of addiction, master of the macabre, prolific C19th essayist).