Recent Pulitzer-winner Jericho Brown reflects on how the prize brings him new attention but the writing process remains the same. With Ashia Ajani at Them, he discusses how the discipline and craft of his poetry can’t be affected by prizes. “What I tell my students is that you either need to write like you have already won every prize, or you need to write like you know for a fact you will never win any prize,” Brown says. “Because the truth is no matter what, you still have to wake up the next morning and endure the tyranny of the blank page.”
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a book that was at once so bold in style and ambitious in structure and so much fun to read.” The Guardian asks indie publishers about the books that made their year, including Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue (whose own Year in Reading you can find here).
Amazon has unveiled its “Kindle Singles” store. Says Amazon: “Typically between 5,000 and 30,000 words, each Kindle Single is intended to allow a single killer idea — well researched, well argued and well illustrated — to be expressed at its natural length.” In practice, this appears to mean short stories as well as journalistic pieces that have (perhaps) been expanded upon. For example, a piece from n+1 is included, “Octomom and the Politics of Babies” by Mark Greif. Amazon writes that in this piece Greif “updates his insightful essay from last spring, where only the journal’s 10,000 readers had access to his dead-on critique of the American media culture that produced its own eight-headed monster.” Bottom line: Amazon is fishing for higher quality content at the low price points that Amazon readers have come to crave.