“She told the students not to explain too much, that they could throw in expressions in Igbo or Yoruba or pidgin and trust the reader to get it. She told them that even if a story was autobiographical it should be shaped—that, for instance, although in life you could have ten close friends, in fiction you could not, because it was too confusing. She told them to avoid inflated language—’never purchase when you can buy.'” A delightful (and somewhat rare) long profile of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the New Yorker.
“Much has been made of the seemingly prophetic nature of Verne’s lunar stories: elements such as the distance and time to reach the moon, and even the launch and landing sites for the mission fall very closely to what actually happened during NASA’s Apollo program.” On the prophetic and historical power of Jules Verne‘s science fiction novels, including the works that later inspired the space program.
Time for an update on the Bob Dylan-Nobel Prize beat: While Dylan still won’t attend the award ceremony in Stockholm this weekend, he has submitted a speech to be read on his behalf, reports The New York Times. Patti Smith will also be on hand to perform one of Dylan’s songs. We bet Brian Burlage would say that suits him perfectly.
Want a book blurb from Margaret Atwood? Expect a poem instead. Atwood has retired from the blurbing business and now declines in rhyming verse. “But now I am aging; my brain is all shrunk,/And my adjective store is depleted;/My hair’s getting stringy, I walk as though drunk;/ As a quotester I’m nigh-on defeated.” Pair with our essays on the blurbing blunder: a history of blurbs, blurbs as publicity stunts, and the fundamental question — to blurb or not to blurb?
Over at Bloom check out this 3-part feature—a conversation and excerpts—on fiction writers-cum-memoirists Robin Black (If I Loved You I Would Tell You This, Life Drawing) and Natalie Serber (Shout Her Lovely Name)—former classmates at the Warren Wilson low-res MFA program, both later-life bloomers, and both “writing for their lives” in new memoirs.