For N.K. Jemisin, dreams shape and drive the imaginary worlds that populate her works of speculative science fiction. For The New Yorker, she spoke to Raffi Khatchadourian about writing herself into the stories she wanted to read, as well as what the future holds for her as her latest book, The City We Became, hits shelves. “What seems to be happening, and I don’t know if I want to resist this, is an effort to push me into the mainstream,” Jemisin says. “I am wrestling with, Do I want to let people call me the next Atwood, or whatever? They always want you to be the next such-and-such. But I am still going to write what I am going to write.”
A Mississippi school district has decided to pull Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird from its junior-high reading list because it “makes people uncomfortable.” The novel, which frequently tops the American Library Association’s “Frequently Challenged Book” list, tackles racism. See also: an essay on the symbolism of mockingbirds.
Our own Emily St. John Mandel gives a glimpse of her life on the road. “I’d been on tour for so long that I had to take a picture of my hotel room door every time I checked into a new place, because otherwise I’d forget my room number,” she writes. For more of her writing, check out her Millions essay on the place where writers work.
Pulitzer winner Tony Horwitz describes – in incredibly depressing fashion – his experience publishing Boom, a digital short representing his first foray into “the brave new world” of digital publishing. Two takeaways for aspiring writers that are not explicitly mentioned, however: don’t write without a contract, and be sure to use an agent from the get-go.
You’ve probably heard it before: never end a story with the phrase “it was all a dream.” Unfortunately for the person who taught you this rule, many classic stories (including Anna Karenina) take place at least partially in dreams. In the NYRB, Francine Prose investigates the trope in fiction.
Pharrell Williams is suing Black Eyed Peas member Will.I.Am over the latter’s insistence that he owns copyright on the phrase, “I Am.” If the judge in this case is truly worth their salt, they should force both musicians to settle this matter with a no-holds-barred John Clare-esque “I Am” poem off.