“Make no mistake: if you run a prize, a “best of” list, a residency, with age guidelines you can’t fully justify then, however otherwise diverse your awardees, you and your organisation are consolidating racism, sexism, class and gender discrimination.” Joanna Walsh for The Guardian arguing that, by focusing on youth, literary awards and honors tend to reward “those most likely to have money, security, contacts, confidence.” See also our Post-40 Bloomers series, including interviews most recently with Lidia Yuknavitch and Cole Lavalais.
Over at the Observer, Brent Underwood writes on how he self-published a fake book on Amazon. He sold a total of three copies, enough for him to earn the #1 Best Seller badge in several categories. Now his fake book has landed an actual book deal and is available in paperback.
“What stereotypes will they critique, destroy, or create? What, in other words, will the post-earthquake novel reveal about Haiti’s most recent losses, obstacles, and hopes for the future?” Patti Marxsen on the post-earthquake Haitian novel, over at The Critical Flame.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations attracted two notable literary figures this weekend. Author and activist Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine) addressed protestors. Here’s the longer, uncut version of her speech. On Sunday, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek (Living in the End Times) gave an address as well.
It’s a question that puzzles writers of all stripes: why is so much academic writing so terrible? It’s an issue that’s been a lifelong head-scratcher for the linguist Steven Pinker, who set out to answer the question once and for all. His verdict? It has to do with the meaning of “literary style.”
Kurt Vonnegut famously wrote that all semicolons do is “show you’ve been to college.” What to make, then of The Lonely Island’s raunchy new song about their favorite punctuation mark? (For the record: Jorma Taccone attended UCLA; Akiva Schaffer attended UC-Santa Cruz; and Andy Samberg attended UC-Santa Cruz and NYU.)