At The New York Times, MJ Franklin profiles Houston-based author Bryan Washington and notes there is a theme of preservation running through Washington’s debut novel, Memorial. “The book preserves Houston and Osaka. It preserves the feeling of being young and lost. It preserves the food that gives us comfort and nourishment and purpose,” he writes. “But there is one thing Washington doesn’t want to preserve: the limited path for writers like him. He wants to evolve it.” Washington hopes that his upcoming novel, which was featured in our October Most Anticipated list, will create space for more unique stories. “Ideally, it’ll kick the stone a little further down the line for books that don’t hit quite down the middle of obvious marketability. And the next person will be able to work on their weird thing, and so will the folks after them.”
Andrew Fitzgerald wants to write “extremely timely fiction, nearly ephemeral.” He wants to write “a story not just set in the present, but set in this very week.” However in order to do that, he’s going to need our help. Check out his full write-up of A March Story on Medium, and then participate via Twitter.
Earlier today, the Guggenheim Foundation announced this year’s Fellows, and the names on their list include a few that Millions readers will recognize. On the fiction side, there’s contributor Laila Lalami along with Year in Reading alumni Jess Row and Jesse Ball, while in nonfiction and poetry, there’s Amanda Petrusich along with Adam Kirsch, Chris Kraus and Deborah Landau. The winners each receive a sizeable cash grant.
From the Ruins of Empire author Pankaj Mishra recently visited Japan and wrote about the experience for Caravan. In particular, he was struck by the ways “much of [the country] presents a spectacle of aged modernity,” and how “it is with some shock that you recall that Japan was where once the future lay, before its bubble burst in the early 1990s, and the country, pushed inward by adversity, became a strange absence in our lives.”
Here’s a simple poll idea we’re amazed we hadn’t thought of before: asking famous writers to pick their favorite words. In The Guardian, Hilary Mantel, Tessa Hadley and others (including Year in Reading alum Eimear McBride) choose their picks for an exceedingly odd vocabulary list.