Now that Father’s Day has passed, can we be honest with each other? Not all dads, truth be told, are Good Dads. Not all dads are tweetable, or postable. Some are even Bad Dads. For Lit Hub, Andrew Thurman writes about a literary genre he’s particularly invested in: the Bad Dad Memoir, typically written by the offspring of said Bad Dads. Thurman writes, “We’ll never have the satisfaction of seeing Isaac turn his family skills of ingenuity, invention, and creativity back on Abraham, but seeing a Bad Dad author bring a book to fruition is, in part, to watch an incompetent underdog come to exert some mastery over their situation; the idiot child becomes an intelligent adult capable of telling their own story. It’s not exactly triumphant, but it’s something.” We’ll take it.
Robert McCrum’s got a question for you, and I’m interested to know the answer, too. Who are the naked writers? My first thought was perhaps Truman Capote, because he wrote so often from bed, but that’s not exactly strong evidence. Anyway, here are some writers in their underpants.
“I’ve spent my whole professional life swirling the eddies of the margins… What I want right now is to see my book in an airport. Then in a couple of years everyone will figure out that I’m too esoteric, and I’ll be back…” The New York Times posts a curious interview with the unconventional Jaimy Gordon, winner of this year’s National Book Award.
In 1986, six years before the publication of The Secret History, Donna Tartt was chosen as the student speaker of her graduating class at Bennington College. A typewritten copy of the speech was recently unearthed, in which she looks back upon her education and the college campus that inspired her first novel. Pair with this comprehensive list of the artworks in Tartt’s The Goldfinch.
You may have heard that E.L. Doctorow passed away last week. The Ragtime and Billy Bathgate author was known for his mastery of historical fiction. At The Guardian, Michael Chabon offers a tribute, arguing that Doctorow found a way out of the binary trap between postmodernism and realism.
“Seidel scared himself with poetry, and us too. How had he done it?” John Jeremiah Sullivan presented the Hadada Award to Frederick Seidel at The Paris Review’s Spring Revel last month. You can read the full text of his speech and three of Seidel’s poems. This seems to be a much better week for Sullivan because he also just won the James Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award for his essay “I Placed a Jar in Tennessee.”