“The power and meaning of the written word are central to the complexities we face today—both as a nation, and globally. To my mind, freedom of expression is a basic human right.” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan has been named the new president of PEN America. Pair with: our own Edan Lepucki‘s 2010 profile of Egan.
The Telegraph links all their reviews of Booker longlist titles from one page. If you want to get a look at these literary hotshots, there’s a photo gallery, too.Ed has read Chuck Klosterman, and he’s not very happy about it.The First Post, a new British online magazine leads with John Irving’s book reviewer-bashing.
Graduation season is upon us, and college students across the nation are listening to esteemed commencement speakers. Some get treated to the likes of Bill Watterson, Jon Stewart, or Barbara Kingsolver. (I got to listen to The Rock.) In the thrill of the moment, it feels like it hardly matters who’s at the podium. One wonders if audiences really grasp the material in these speeches right away, or if the speaker’s words only become clear later on. Inspired by David Foster Wallace’s iconic Kenyon address in 2005, our own Kevin Hartnett tried to find out.
In the early ‘70s, Kurt Vonnegut helped produce a TV adaptation of his work, Between Time and Timbuktu, that aired on the public TV program NET Playhouse. The adaptation brought together elements from several of the author’s most famous works, including Sirens of Titan, Cat’s Cradle and “Harrison Bergeron.” At Black Balloon Publishing’s blog, you can find YouTube clips and links to the printed script. (Related: our own Lydia Kiesling read Vonnegut’s Letters.) (h/t The Rumpus)
Edmund Wilson famously said of the works of H.P. Lovecraft that “the only real horror in most of these fictions is the horror of bad taste and bad art.” In time, however, Lovecraft developed a substantial following, which raises the question of what attracted readers to his work. The answer? “The weird realism that runs through his writings undermines any belief system – religious or humanist – in which the human mind is the centre of the universe.” Related: Ben Dooley on the scariness of House of Leaves.
Remember that time Amtrak offered a 10-day train residency, and the internet experienced a collective freakout because trains are literary catnip, and then we found out it was kind of a scam? Barnard Zine Library does, too. In honor of that cultural moment, they recently sponsored an “MTA Residency” that, while less glamorous, has already yielded beautiful work.