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.”
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.
Mallory Ortberg of The Toast, whose Ayn Rand-inspired versions of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and You’ve Got Mail we told you about a few months ago, is back it at again. Now Rand (er, I mean, Ortberg) has her sights set on the dubiously libertarian children’s classic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. If we give you the article, you’ll probably ask us for an essay by Gary Percesepe about meeting Ayn Rand’s editor to go along with it.
Following the Irish release of The Guts, the new Roddy Doyle novel that brings back Jimmy Rabbitte from The Commitments, The Irish Times interviews Doyle, who remembers a time when his writing garnered him death threats. Sample quote: “I drove the guy in the next room demented as I replayed an old tape, repeating the same musical phrase, again and again.”
Recommended reading: The Awl takes a look at the “attempt to create a completely logical, absolutely universal language,” which goes about as well as you’d expect (read: not very).