Planning to attend this Saturday’s National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.? The Washington Post has provided five sample itineraries. And for an entirely different, vicarious trip, revisit Mythili G. Rao‘s account of visiting the Jaipur Literature Festival a few years back: “To voice their disapproval of the circumstances of Salman Rushdie’s absence, four writers read from The Satanic Verses — a book that has been banned in India. They were advised to leave. What kind of real intellectual discussion could go on in a setting that had proved itself so hospitable to self-censorship?”
“I do not have experiences in order to write about them. I live in order to live,” Rachel Kushner told New York Magazine. Boris Kachka profiles 2013’s most critically acclaimed author and 2013 Year in Reading participant about what it was like to grow up with hippie parents, riding motorcycles, and her affinity for the art world.
“The so-called ‘alt-right’ is white nationalism repackaged as retro-chic, and its discourse constantly invokes nostalgia for a golden age in the Confederate South when racism when reigned supreme. The leaders of this project will need to be very careful that they don’t end up just creating a Disneyland for racists.” A coalition of local businesses in Monroeville, Alabama, Harper Lee‘s hometown, plan to open a major tourist attraction built around the late author’s home and fabrications of fictional locations featured in To Kill A Mockingbird. Critics are dubious, reports The Guardian. Perhaps, in lieu of a trip, you’ll accept this essay by Robert Rea about his literary pilgrimage to Lee-land?
The Barcelona Review has the text of the eponymous story from Alan Heathcock’s Volt for your reading pleasure. You might remember Heathcock’s work from last Decemeber, when Michael Schaub picked the “dark, beautiful short story collection” in his Year in Reading installment, and then gave it a glowing review for NPR.
Is it another Beyoncé/Lemonade thinkpiece? Yes. Is it also more than that and worth your time to read? Yes. Terryn Hall at The Rumpus on Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, and being a black woman in the South: “Although Beyoncé is not ‘literary’ in a traditional sense, she’s using her power to usher in new black poetic (Warsan Shire) musical (Ibeyi, Chloe and Halley Bailey) and modeling (Jourdan Dunn, Zendaya) talent in a manner similar to that of the literary patrons of yesteryear.”
Does literature belong on the streets? Thanks to some forward-thinking initiatives like the Coffee Sleeves Conversation at Coffee House Press and the Chicago-based project “Poem While You Wait,” (in which poets stationed around the city produce original, on-demand poems for five dollars a piece) literature is finding its way to the masses.
Today is Haruki Murakami’s birthday, so what better day to announce the title of his next work, Kishidancho Goroshi (Killing Commendatore)? The novel, which is divided in two parts – Arawareru Idea (Emerging Idea) and Utsurou Metaphor (Moving Metaphor) – is slated for a late February release in Japan. As of this writing, very little is known about the novel’s plot.
Literary prizes are nothing new, but prizes that give writers real estate are a thoroughly modern development. At Salon, Michele Filgate investigates our odd new economy, in which lucky writers win leases to homes, inns and (in one case) a goat farm. You could also read our own Nick Ripatrazone on the Amtrak residency.