Ayobami Adebayo is interviewed by Abigail Bereola for Hazlitt and it’s fantastic. They discuss proverbs, romantic love, sickle cell anemia and writing your first book. “At the risk of sounding very narcissistic, I’m going to say I write for myself ultimately. And maybe my sister. I think that when I’m working, it’s very difficult for me to think about an audience, perhaps because sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. I’m trying to figure out so many things that I really don’t start thinking about the idea that other people might read this thing until, ‘Oh my God, it’s publication day’ and I have a panic attack like ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’ I think the awareness of an audience is something I’m just coming into because this is a first book.”
“Writing on a computer can be terribly distracting, so sometimes I like to use a pencil and paper to jot down ideas. I always end up drawing a cartoon duck. Inevitably, the duck is holding a notepad, and I can read the ideas that he wrote down.” At Clickhole, six writers explain how they overcome writer’s block.
“It’s like a massive piece of denim, and with that denim you can make something really cool. You can make a jacket, you can make some cool jeans, or you can make a cushion or a cover.” When The New York Times decides it wants to define “punk,” you’d better get ready for some cringe-worthy responses. Here’s a Millions piece on Viv Albertine, author of Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys and no stranger to punk rock.
“[I]n the world of letters, it is hard to imagine a more seismic change than this one.” The New York Times announces that its longtime book critic Michiko Kakutani is stepping down after nearly four decades of reviews.
The Times also offers a roundup of her greatest hits, including writeups of Beloved, Infinite Jest, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Bill Clinton‘s memoir My Life:
The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history.
This announcement was followed by the great news that repeat Year in Reading alumna Parul Sehgal will join Jennifer Senior and Dwight Garner as a Times book critic, leaving her position as senior editor of the NYT Book Review. Congratulations, Parul!
Want your writing to have punch? Want your readers to believe you? “The five-word sentence as the gospel truth…Express your most powerful thought in the shortest sentence,” Roy Peter Clark writes in The New York Times. Sorry that every sentence in this post is more than five words.
Over on LARB, Marie Rutkoski traces the geneology of Cinderella and explores the theme of nature that runs through the classic fairytale’s many iterations. It’s also well worth revisiting Kirsty Logan’s piece exploring how contemporary authors have revisited the story of Snow White.