For Teacher Appreciation Week, Joumana Khatib at The New York Times asked writers about the books they were recommended to read by their teachers. Poet Ada Limón was given Ray Bradbury‘s The October Country by her high school English teacher. “I had never read stories like this,” Limon says. “The sense of surprise. The distrust of human beings. How the enemy could be the wind or a crowd, or how a farmer could be forced to cut wheat that isn’t wheat at all with his giant scythe. I also learned the word scythe! It was just weird enough for me at 13. Just forbidden enough. Just dark and morbid enough to keep my interest. I still think about those short stories, their strange and eerie turns, how it gave the world another magical (and creepy) possibility.”
“It was only in 1987, when she went to National Taiwan University, that the censorship laws were relaxed. Yet the censorship laws seemed to have an opposing effect on her literary ambitions. ” Meet Qiu Miaojin, the first woman in Chinese literature to come out as openly gay. Ankita Chakraborty at Longreads has more on this remarkable writer.
Wole Soyinka does not approve of the push for Chinua Achebe to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Prize for Literature, and he doesn’t appreciate fan letters asking for his support to that end. “How did creative valuation descend to such banality?” Soyinka remarks in an interview with SaharaReporters. “Do these people know what they’re doing – they are inscribing Chinua’s epitaph in the negative mode of thwarted expectations. I find that disgusting.”