Last month legendary poet Sonia Sanchez won the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize —a $250,000 lifetime achievement honor— and NPR is taking a look back on her lasting influence in the world of poetry and beyond. “Part of Sanchez’s power comes from advocating for her people—and from blazing a trail for poets who came after her. Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, who now has five poetry collections and a novel, says she learned how to lean into her power through Sanchez. ‘I remember how Miss Sonia would close her eyes sometimes when she would read,’ Jeffers says, thinking of one of her earliest readings in front of a big crowd. ‘And so I closed my eyes and I felt something enter me. And when I opened my eyes, I wasn’t scared anymore.'”
What color would The Little Prince be? Before you dismiss this as an inane question, artist Jaz Parkinson created color signatures based on how often books mentioned certain hues. The results look like a better Rothko painting. Pair with: Radiolab’s fascinating podcast on the science of color.
Nonfiction writing might work wonders for history books, but the heart of the genre is still the essay. In a piece for The Morning News Martin Connelly discusses his youthful resolution to be an essayist, which he quickly forgot and then gradually remembered. There are also ironic license plates, convicts and a baby, just to jazz everything up a little bit.
Phillip Pullman, author of the much-beloved His Dark Materials series, has resigned as a patron of the Oxford Literary Festival due to the festival’s practice of not paying its guest authors. This move comes only one week after Pullman and the Society of Authors released an open letter to The Publisher’s Association and the Independent Publisher’s Guild, demanding authors receive fair compensation for their work.
Many feared the permanent loss of thousands of precious manuscripts and relics after insurgents razed Timbuktu’s Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Learning and Islamic Research. The Institute was home to over 30,000 manuscripts dating back to the 13th century. Or was it? In a fascinating report, Rukmini Callimachi details the extraordinary efforts of the some passionate locals that wound up saving much of the collection.
Has the drudgery of submitting poems, stories, and manuscripts ever gotten you down? Marlon James, author of the Booker Prize winner A Brief History of Seven Killings, had his first novel rejected by nearly eighty publishing houses. Here’s a take on self-publishing from The Millions if all of this has got you down.