At Vanity Fair, Abigail Santamaria examines how the 1918 flu pandemic and threat of nuclear war influenced Madeleine L’Engle’s writing. In L’Engle’s posthumous collection, The Moment of Tenderness, the story “A Sign for a Sparrow” takes place on a radioactive wasteland. “Readers are drawn to her fictional dark worlds,” Santamaria writes, “because, like the dark places of her own universe, the light wins in the end. Bound up in L’Engle’s biography are promises of what transcends the wastelands of our pandemic.”
When Adrienne Raphel got to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she found a group of writers as addicted to fonts as she was. Over time, a “font subculture” developed among the poets, who settled on particular fonts as their signatures, at least for a while. At The Paris Review Daily, she writes about her typographic bent. Pair with our own Garth Risk Hallberg on the use of fonts in publishing.
In 1998, Matthew Stokoe kicked off his career as a novelist with Cows, a stomach-turning book set largely in the confines of a slaughterhouse. Now, Stokoe has written a book with a somewhat ironic title, considering it dials down the obscenity in comparison to his early work. Drew Smith interviews the author over at Full-Stop.