Take a vicarious trip to China via a special issue of Ninth Letter, a literary and arts journal published by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Including work by authors Madelaine Thien and Khaled Al Khamissi, the issue grew out of a residency sponsored by Sun Yat-sen University’s Center for English-language Creative Writing, the only such department of its kind in that country. Pair with this piece by Casey Walker about writing his novel Last Days in Shanghai, which is set in the boomtown of today’s new China.
Out this week: The Last Kid Left by Rosecrans Baldwin; The Answers by Catherine Lacey; Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim; Perennials by Mandy Berman; Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar; and The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
“Why do we spend so much time with stories whose endings we already know?” Derek Thompson writes about nostalgia and culture for The Atlantic, and his piece pairs well with Katy Waldman‘s Slate essay about “thinking that you’re not getting as much from reading as you used to.”
“If I’ve sat on my arse all day—and it’s definitely my English arse I sit on, not an American ass—then what I most want to do come evening is sit on it some more,” Geoff Dyer loves to sit. He and other authors discussed why the standing desk is overrated at The New Republic. Here’s where our writers work.
The first time’s always the hardest, right? Well, what if you could dull the pain of future rejection letters by preempting your favorite publication’s editors? That’s right. Now you can reject yourself with the Rejection Generator. And just to show that we’re not taking sides on this issue, check out some of the utter dross agents and editors get offered on a daily basis.
For over twenty years, from the thirties through the fifties, a group of Oxford writers who called themselves The Inklings met weekly to drink, exchange ideas and read aloud their drafts. Though J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were easily their most famous members, the group had other notable figures, among them the language historian Arthur Owen Barfield. In The Chronicle of Higher Education, a history of the group.
Matthew Stadler of Publication Studio hits NYC on his NAFTA tour just in time for the 4th of July weekend. The Saturday evening begins with a ghost tour of sorts, of the city’s “disappeared bookstores,” and a lavish Mexican dinner will follow. If the feasts in Stadler’s latest novel, Chloe Jarren’s La Cucaracha, are any indication, expect copious cocktails and intriguing conversations. More details here.