At the Believer, Raven Leilani, author of Luster, discusses her desire to write Black women who actively resist conforming to society’s preconceptions about them. “I wanted to afford a Black woman the latitude to be fallible,” she says. “I wanted to write against the idea that there is a particular way to comport yourself to earn the right to empathy. Black women are especially subject to this expectation, and I think to have to expertly navigate racist and sexist terrain to survive and be denied the right to a human response is to deny that person dignity. It’s a recipe for a repressed, combustible person. I’ve been there, and I’m still unlearning that reflexive curation as we speak, so it was a relief to write a Black woman who leads with her id. It was a relief to write toward her want and rage without apology, which is, unfortunately, what some people might find unlikeable.”
Fun Fact: “Literature” was an Olympic event until 1948. In fact, several other events were also listed under the umbrella of “Sporting Art,” as Olympic historian John MacAloon points out to NPR. For example, W. B. Yeats’ brother, Jack Butler Yeats, won the “Mixed Painting” silver in 1924; some people even won “Medals for Making Medals!”
In the Times, Jennifer Schuessler reviews Ishmael Beah’s new novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, which takes place in the same war-ravaged setting as the author’s 2007 memoir. Schuessler writes that Beah “delivers a glimpse of the hardships of postwar Sierra Leone along with strong and repeated assurances about the redemptive powers of stories themselves.”
“Cursed Child … is an act of overreach that feels mandated not by [J.K.] Rowling’s desire to fill out details but by an entertainment industry intent on reviving and rebooting anything that’s ever made money.” Sophie Gilbert reviews Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for The Atlantic.
“If we have no internal lives, then artists are free to make them for us, or to use us as tools for providing depth and motivation to the non-autistic characters, the real ones.” Sarah Kurchak writes for Electric Literature on the abysmal state of autistic representation in books, film, and television, namechecking both The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Visit From the Goon Squad, which we considered here and here, respectively.