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.”
“Almost as soon as the concept of the Great American Novel was invented, in the nation-building years after the Civil War, Buell finds it being mocked, noting that one observer dryly put it into the same category as ‘other great American things such as the great American sewing-machine, the great American public school, and the great American sleeping-car.’ It was enough of a cliché by 1880 for Henry James to refer to it with the acronym ‘GAN,’ which Buell employs throughout his book.” On the reigning gold standard for quality in American fiction. (Related: we asked nine experts their picks for the best American novel.)
Most writers, unless they’re lucky enough to have an ideal place in which to work, make do with the best space available. For Colum McCann’s father, the shed in his backyard, which “always smelled damp inside, as if the rain rose up out of the carpet,” sufficed for the fiction he wrote after coming home from work. At Page-Turner, the National Book Award winner and Year in Reading alum remembers his father’s retreat.
“While guys spent time in these Seg cells calling out chess moves over the walkways or doing push-ups until their veins bulged from their temples, I was in my cell pecking away trying to create a different world for myself. Some kind of way I felt I could rewrite my future.” For The New Yorker‘s Page-Turner blog, Daniel A. Gross tells the story of the Swintec Corporation, the nation’s sole supplier of clear typewriters, whose largest market is prisons. Pair with our own Bill Morris on using his Royal to write.