Two-time Pulitzer-winner Colson Whitehead spoke to Hillel Italie at AP News about his latest book, The Nickel Boys, his quarantine routine, and his childhood reading habits. “I wanted to write from a very early age, just from reading Marvel Comics and Stephen King, and Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury,” Whitehead says. “I consumed fantastic fiction and loved how you could make possible whatever weird idea you had in your head. Your taking your eccentric ideas and trying to convince the reader that they’re plausible.”
Five finalists have been named for this year’s PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction: Daniel Alarcón’s At Night We Walk in Circles, Percival Everett’s Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, (Year in Reading alum) Joan Silber’s Fools, and Valerie Trueblood’s Search Party: Stories of Rescue. One winner will be selected on April 2, 2014, and a celebratory dinner will be held in its honor on May 10. You can read up on all of the finalists over here.
“The Chinese people are on high alert that criticism of the government, independent thinking, and challenges to official narratives are dangerous.” PEN America has published “Writing on the Wall,” a report about the disappearance, late last year, of five Hong Kong booksellers. Only four of the five men have been released from Chinese custody.