The winner of the 2018 Man Booker International Prize is Flights by Olga Tokarczuk. Connected by themes of travel and human anatomy, Flights is a novel of linked fragments from the 17th century to the present day. The five panel judges chaired by Lisa Appignanesi OBE chose Tokarczuk's novel from a group of 108 submissions. About the winner, Appignanesi wrote "Tokarczuk is a writer of wonderful wit, imagination and literary panache. In Flights, brilliantly translated by Jennifer Croft, by a series of startling juxtapositions she flies us through a galaxy of departures and arrivals, stories and digressions, all the while exploring matters close to the contemporary and human predicament – where only plastic escapes mortality." Considering both novels and short stories, the prize is awarded annually to a work of English translation and published in the United Kingdom. The £50,000 prize is divided equally between the author and the translator. (Bonus links: an essay on what can be lost in translation).
"Puzzled as to why her mother had not figured out “Miriam” on her own — or why, after Capote became famous, she did not say much about her letter and his answer — Ms. Akers sought clues." The New York Times writes about recently discovered letter from Truman Capote to a young reader who misunderstood his first published story. Read our own Michael Bourne on the tragedy of Capote's life.
"That no-way-out is really the difference between boys and girls in working-class culture, because a working-class boy could run, or could when I was growing up." Guernica interviews Dorothy Allison about literature as glory; survival, opportunity, and gender; and working-class heroes vs. heroines. For your reading consideration: Bill Morris's essay on the riches of "white trash" literature.
"Most of all, they don’t tell you that fear, to reverse a phrase from C. S. Lewis, will feel so like grief, and so you begin to mourn what you have not yet lost, because mourning prematurely is the only way to protect yourself from hope." For Catapult, Laura Turner writes about her trio of miscarriages and the hope she lost (and found) along the way. (Turner is a 2017 Year in Reading alum).
"I hate the idea that you must write every day because I really can’t do that. Sometimes the aching bones in my body will not allow it." Electric Literature interviews three writers—Keah Brown, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Jillian Weise—about disability, publishing, and accessibility. From our archives: Wang's 2016 Year in Reading entry.
"Motherhood remains more of a choice for some than others, and yet our varying degrees of agency are rarely acknowledged by the mainstream narrative upheld by the vast majority of what has (disparagingly) been referred to as 'mommy lit'." An essay in Buzzfeed about pregnancy, queerness, and three upcoming memoirs about motherhood (and non-motherhood). Pair with: an essay about motherhood as muse.
Ninth Letter recently launched "Only Silence Will Never Betray You," a mini-anthology of contemporary Bulgarian writers. Editor-at-Large Philip Graham introduces the five writers: Ivayla Alexandrova, Bistra Andreeva, Nikolai Grozni, Georgi Gospodinov, and Marin Bodakov. From our archives: our 2013 interview with Grozni.
"These elements of scandal, by now familiar in the #MeToo era, claimed an unusual casualty on Friday: The Nobel Prize in Literature, the world’s most prestigious accolade for writing." In the wake of a sex abuse scandal, The Swedish Academy announced it will postpone this year's award until next year when they will name two winners. In the meantime, maybe we should all mull over the problem with prestigious prizes.