“It’s about what they call Native Excellence — and creating a path to it with its own expectations and standards, instead of relying on those established by white academia or publishing.” BuzzFeed News wrote an in-depth feature on the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), which offers the US’s first indigenous-centered MFA program, Terese Marie Mailhot (author of Heart Berries: A Memoir), and Tommy Orange (author of There There). Read our interview with Marcie Rendon about writing a representative novel for today’s Native Americans.
What is the greatest crime in literary history? Depending on who you ask, it was probably the burning of Byron’s memoirs. Shortly after his death, three of Byron’s closest friends, along with a few attorneys representing family interests, decided that the memoirs were too scandalous to publish and thus tossed them bit by bit into a fireplace. They claim to have been acting in his best interest, and, as Byron himself said, “There is no instinct like that of the heart.”
Somewhat overshadowed by David Simon’s recent op-ed on the state of modern America (if not capitalism itself) was the news that Wendell Pierce – featured prominently in both The Wire and Treme – secured a book deal for his meditation on Hurricane Katrina and “the effect it had on his family, his life, his memory, and his hometown.”
Who invented ska music? John Jeremiah Sullivan traces the history of the genre in his latest essay for The Oxford American. “The more the claims for Rosco Gordon’s supremacy as a ska progenitor seem not out of proportion, and the less crazy it feels to say that, in a sense, ska was born in Tennessee.” Pair with: Sullivan’s essay on Bunny Wailer, who makes a cameo in his ska essay.