At Electric Literature, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer take a look at fantasy’s impact on comtemporary pop culture, in their introduction to the new collection, The Big Book of Modern Fantasy. “Fantasy becomes something of use to a writer to make a political or social statement,” they write. “It’s not just a mode, it’s a tool allowing conversation with predecessors and conversation with an often bewildering and sometimes horrifying world; it’s no surprise that absurdism and surrealism arose when they did.”
June 7th would have been Gwendolyn Brooks‘ 101st birthday. In remembrance of her we encourage you to read her works and reflect on a legacy. To get you started Shondaland has a good primer on this cool poet, who became the first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize. Pair it with this essay on Brooks and reading outside your culture.
The 2017 Whiting Award winners were announced tonight at a ceremony in Manhattan, and this year’s list of ten honorees includes Francisco Cantú (The Line Becomes a River), Simone Wright (Of Being Dispersed), Phillip B. Williams (Thief in the Interior), Kaitlyn Greenidge (We Love You, Charlie Freeman), Tony Tulathimutte (Private Citizens), Jen Beagin (Pretend I’m Dead), and Lisa Halliday (Asymmetry) as well as playwrights Clarence Coo, James Ijames, and Clare Barron. The award, which recognizes early-career writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, comes with a $50,000 prize. Excerpts from each writer’s work can be read at The Paris Review.
“… Stop talking about diversity and start decolonizing our shelves.”At the Winter Institute 2018 (Wi13), keynote speaker Junot Diaz lambasted the publishing industry for talking — but doing little else — about diversity in literature, and implored librarians and booksellers to fill their shelves with diverse books. From our archives: an essay on race, gender, and Diaz’s writing.
Once again, another Dave Eggers novel is coming with barely any notice. Knopf will publish Eggers’s latest, Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, on June 17. The title is longer than the plot description, but the new novel will follow a man named Thomas who interrogates a NASA astronaut about their connection.
It seems almost silly to mention it since the book’s been on shelves and discussed in the book pages for a couple of weeks now, but the “official” release date of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King is this Friday. (Our review was published today.) Meghan O’Rourke’s grief memoir The Long Goodbye is out this week. And another look at our culture through the lens of our technology is now out, Steven Levy’s In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives.