For LitHub’s Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast, Marlon James and Daniel José Older talk genre (as in, according to James, “that thing creative writing programs don’t know how to teach”), gender identity in ancient Africa, and James’s deep-seated love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Plus, Older discusses the process for his book Dactyl Hill Squad: “There’s so many amazing stories of people of color resisting, and finding different ways to fight for freedom throughout, whether in New York, or all over this country, in Mexico…And kids aren’t growing up learning about them because of white supremacy, and it’s hurting us. And they don’t get to see themselves as heroes or protagonists, either in history or in fantasy. And this is a way of bringing those stories to life.”
Andrew Ervin interviewed Matt Bell for Tin House. Bell’s forthcoming novel In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and Woods will come out this summer. (Excerpt) It’s a book that was at least partially enhanced by Bell’s sense of “competition … of a useful kind” with his friend Robert Kloss. “I was so blown away [by Alligators of Abraham],” Bell admits, “that I can remember having to resist putting down his first novel to go make mine better.”
“It has been said of the Beatles that there is not a clunker of a song in their oeuvre because they simply never let the bad stuff get released. The same might be said of Nabokov—for ‘Camera Obscura’ shows that he was indeed capable of writing a second-rate novel. (He knew it, and rewrote it.)” John Colapinto looks at Nabokov‘s retranslation of Laughter in the Dark for The New Yorker.
Echoing Kevin Hartnett’s new year’s resolution here at The Millions, Colson Whitehead tells writers to quit bitching about getting distracted by the internet.
Poet and essayist Adrienne Rich passed way this afternoon at the age of 82, the LA Times confirms. Her influence on writing and activism is immeasurable, and this is a sad day of all of literature. The Poetry Foundation’s short biography of the poet is not to be missed, and nor are her poems “Final Notions,” and “For the Dead.”