At The Guardian, this year’s six Booker Prize finalists describe the inspiration behind their books. Yesterday, the 2020 Prize was awarded to Shuggie Bain author Douglas Stuart, who explains that writing is both a source of comfort and a rejection of his childhood. “I grew up to be a textile designer. I had wanted to study English and to become a writer, but in the world of my childhood, boys didn’t do such things. Studying English was middle-class; even the word English was jarring and dangerous in the East End of Glasgow,” he says. “Because of my upbringing I felt so much like an impostor that I wrote in secret, and told no one (other than my husband)…Men from the west coast of Scotland are not known for revealing their tenderer feelings. Fiction allows me to make sense of things I am unable to express in other ways. It took 10 years to write the novel because I felt such comfort in the world I was creating.” Shuggie Bain was featured on our February Most Anticipated list alongside another shortlisted book: Brandon Taylor’s Real Life.
“But every time I sat down in my desk, my heart raced. I forgot the words, my sentences sounded wordy, unnecessary, ugly.” Our own Bruna Dantas Lobato writes about anxiety and writer’s block for Ploughshares. Pair with her Staff Pick for The Millions, Juan Goytisolo’s Count Julian.
Michele Filgate was so terrified by Dave Eggers’s The Circle that she quit social media for a week and wrote about the experience for Salon. “I don’t want to become like Mae, sacrificing real-life friendships for the allure of the screen. I want to be aware of the world around me. I want to write about that world. I want to feel more alive, even if that means being lonelier in the process.” Pair with: our review of the novel.
If you’ve been on the Internet at any point in the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that Twin Peaks is coming back. The seminal (and seminally weird) show by David Lynch will return for nine episodes in 2016. At The Nervous Breakdown, Joshua Lyons explains what the show meant to him, with the help of visual proof that he copied Bobby Briggs’s hair.
What’s it like being a young journalist in a turbulent time for the business? Some of my fellow Medill grads and I have created a blog to discuss that and other pressing matters. If you’re a journalism junkie like I am, you’ll enjoy The Newshole. Check it out.Longtime Millions contributor Emre has started a blog called Live from Gybria, where he will chronicle his travels, his life as a Turkish expat, and his studies at my illustrious alma mater, the Medill School of Journalism. Luckily, Emre will still be posting here, too. In fact, we’ll be putting up some more of his reading journals here in the next few days.And congrats to Anne Fernald (proprietor of the litblog Fernham) whose book Virginia Woolf: Feminism and the Reader has just been published.