With a list that includes Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Rainbow Rowell, and more, it seems that more and more authors are writing for comic books. Hugo award-winning sci-fi and fantasy writer N.K. Jemisin spoke to Charles Pulliam-Moore at io9 about scripting the new Green Lantern series, Far Sector, for DC Comics. “To me, a good story leaves them thinking about how societies are structured and how criminal justice actually operates,” Jemisin says, “how government, in some cases, defend themselves instead of their people. Things like that. I want people to think about these things, because, to me, that’s what makes a good story. But if they want to just do, ‘Oh my God, the new Green Lantern’s eyebrow game is always on point. It’s the best.’ That’s cool, too.”
What happens when you put one of the biggest literary egos together with music’s biggest ego? A movie. Bret Easton Ellis is working with Kanye West on a film. “He came and asked me to write the film,” Ellis told Vice. “I didn’t want to at first. Then I listened to Yeezus…I thought, regardless of whether I’m right for this project, I want to work with whoever made this.” This is an interesting pairing because Kanye definitely isn’t a reader.
The Economist digs into the stupid “debate” over Philip Roth’s International Booker win.
The New Yorker announced that their literary blog, The Book Bench, will henceforth be called Page-Turner. The name change signals a “building on the work of the Book Bench blog, and expanding on it.” In an inaugural post, Ryan Bloom translates the deceptively simple first line of The Stranger.
A big week for new fiction. Ian McEwan’s latest novel Solar is out. Kakutani just called it his “funniest novel yet.” Also now apparently available (despite its late April pub date) is the latest in the long line posthumously published works by Roberto Bolaño, Antwerp, a slim volume that has been described as both a prose poem and a crime novel. Deborah Eisenberg’s big new volume of collected stories is also out today, as is Rachel Cusk’s The Bradshaw Variations. Hilary Mantel is a fan of the latter. And finally, The Lotus Eaters, a debut novel from sometime Millions contributor Tatjana Soli.
Francine Prose has an idiosyncratic theory that the Hindu god Ganesh is a vital part of her writing process. In a VQR essay, she explains that her portrait of the deity (which she purchased forty years ago at a bazaar in Mumbai) gives her a kind of confidence that goes beyond superstition. As support for this belief, she points out that Ganesh is known in some quarters as “the writer’s god.”
Among the recommendations and rules listed in the CIA’s official style guide: favor the active voice; keep sentences and paragraphs short; boats should not be referred to with gendered pronouns; and the “w” in “Vietnam war” should be lower case because war wasn’t officially declared.