“I saw a novel with a mysterious-looking black woman on the cover. That was why I picked it up – because of the African woman on the cover of a book in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section. I read the first page and my eyes nearly popped out.” Book Riot has a killer roundup of posts in honor of Octavia Butler‘s birthday today, including five other sci-fi authors on being inspired by her writing (that’s Nnedi Okorafor above). Pair with our own Edan Lepucki‘s consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.
Booker-snubbed, but still widely anticipated, Philip Hensher’s King of Badgers is out today. As are Ali Smith’s There But for The, Erin Morgenstern’s uber-hyped debut The Night Circus, and The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate, who wrote here about writers’ work getting better as they get older.
At Bloom this week, check out the multi–part feature on Spencer Reece‘s poetry project at an orphanage in Honduras, which includes a documentary film for which singer-songwriter Dar Williams is composing/performing the soundtrack. Watch an exclusive two-part video interview with Reece and Williams about their friendship and collaboration.
Congratulations to our own Lydia Kiesling whose essay “Proust’s Arabesk: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk” has taken third place in the 3 Quarks Daily 2010 Prize in Arts & Literature as judged by Robert Pinsky.
Deep Springs College in Eastern California is a “bonkers, hyper-isolated, working cattle ranch slash all-male two-year university” that caters to the Lonely White Male mythology. Deep Springs alumni have been awarded, among many other honors, Rhodes and Truman Scholarships, MacArthur “genius grants”, Pulitzer Prizes, and an Emmy. And now, dear readers, they’re building a women’s college which promises to be every bit as unique as its forebear. Yay?
“I say peel back the immediate surface layer and let’s see what’s actually underneath, if it’s possible to find that out. As a child, of course, I grew up looking under dead logs to see if there might be a newt. Most of the time there wasn’t a newt. Sometimes there was.” Margaret Atwood talks newts and skepticism in a new interview over at Hazlitt. Atwood’s newest, The Heart Goes Last, is out now.