Author Angie Cruz started the Instagram account, Dominicanas NYC, when she couldn’t find photos of 1960s Dominican working-class women while researching her novel Dominicana. Cruz spoke to the Cut about this community-driven project that shares photos and stories of Dominican women from across the country. “I’m interested in writing about the working class, which is often under-documented,” she says. “What’s documented is what we see in the papers, about politicians, or people who have power, or crime. My family was in NYC in the ’70s, but for Dominicana, I was interested in writing about 1965. That was the year the U.S. occupied D.R. It was the year Malcolm X was shot across from the building I grew up in [in Washington Heights.] I wanted to bring all these historical moments together and show how, even if they’re different stories and movements, they’re all interconnected.”
“An appeal for the revival of the negative book review, then, is a remonstration against forced and foppish praise, where everything is good and so nothing at all is good.” In The Baffler, Rafia Zakaria writes in praise of negative book reviews and decries the “enfeebling of literary criticism.” From our archives: our own Emily St. John Mandel writes about bad book reviews.
Recommended reading: The Guardian reports on Varlam Shalamov, a Russian author who spent 17 years in the harsh camps of the Kolyma gulag, wrote more than 140 short stories, and still claimed ““I hate literature. I do not write memoirs; nor do I write short stories. That is, I try to write not a short story but something that would not be literature.”
The annual Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference wrapped up earlier this week, but, thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can relive the magic: Transcripts and videos of notable speeches are available on the conference’s website, including the concluding talk on the future of the novel by China Mieville.
Rejection is something all writers face and no one’s pretending it’s pleasant, but worse than the rejection itself are the hours spent deciphering where a submission went wrong. Thankfully Lincoln Michel at Electric Literature was inspired by a 1920s rejection slip to create a self-explanatory “thanks but no thanks” note. While we’re thankful these aren’t the norm, we can definitely see the appeal…