The Legacy of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

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At The New York Times, Dan Saltzstein reflects on the legacy of Korean-American experimental artist and poet Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and how her artistic reputation has flourished after her early death. “It can also sometimes feel like Cha is grappling with her own mortality in Dictee,” Saltzstein writes, “in a hauntingly prescient line that might be autobiographical, she writes of struggling with how to move forward against ‘the onslaught of time,’ adding, ‘She says to herself if she were able to write she could continue to live.'”

Jami Attenberg on Building a Writing Life

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At the Guardian, Jami Attenberg, author of the recent memoir I Came All This Way to Meet You, reflects on how a key moment of rejection allowed her to carve out her own path as a writer. “I’m old enough to realise that there is one more important part to carving out your creative life: honouring your successes no matter the size,” Attenberg writes. “And honouring the bad moments too. Laying your burdens down. Building this writing life has always been about recognising what was holding me back so I could move on. One writer told me no. I honour his rejection. He said no, but I said yes.”

Constantly Reading, Constantly Changing with Eloisa James

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At the Creative Independent, romance novelist and Shakespeare professor Eloisa James (whose real name is Mary Bly) discusses how she keeps her writing process fresh, whether it’s for her bestselling romance novels or academic texts. “If you’re going to have a long career in writing,” she explains, “you need to be constantly reading in your genre. What you’re going to write is going to change. It has to change.”

The Affirming Aspirations of Anthony Veasna So

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At On the Seawall, Hamilton Cain examines the ghosts that haunt Afterparties, the beautifully crafted short story collection by the late Anthony Veasna So. “So writes with grace and panache; his characters leap off the page,” Cain says. “Walmarts, side jobs, SAT prep: these conventions open the door to better lives, mystically affirming aspirations born out of torture chambers and totalitarian purges. In this regard, Afterparties bears a kinship with an emerging generation of writers grappling with genocides in the former Yugoslavia, among them Sara Nović, Pajtim Statovci, and Saša Stanišić.”

Lily King Is in the Business of Hope

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At Electric Literature, Lily King speaks to Amy Reardon about her new story collection, Five Tuesdays in Winter, which she considers a rebellion against our dark times. “A number of people have said, ‘You’re not afraid of a happy ending,'” King says, “and I’ve been thinking a lot about that, and why that is true. It’s funny, everybody kind of sees what they want to see. I think even in stories that don’t have cleanly, purely happy endings, I am in the business of hope. I do believe in hope, and I do believe in change, and I do believe that we’re better than we think we are, and we’re better than this time we’re in. We are. I just… I hope we can get there before the world ends.”

Female Abjection Through the Eyes of Jean Rhys

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At Gawker, Mariah Kreutter examines the work of Jean Rhys, and how her exploration of femalle suffering still echoes throughout contemporary fiction, particularly in works by Ottessa Moshfegh and Sally Rooney. “It’s there in Rhys’s frank writing about sex,” Kreutter writes, “financial precarity, romantic abjection; it’s there in her fragmentation, in her flat sentences, in her heroines’ relentless indifference; in her mining of her own experience; in her blatant yet canny deployment of self-pity.”

Children’s Books from the Margins of Life with Maurice Sendak

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At Electric Literature, Michele Kirichanskaya delves into the ways Maurice Sendak’s experiences as a queer, Jewish writer influenced his innovative children’s books. “Rather than patronizing his young readers, painting an illusion of childhood ‘innocence,’ he respected them by acknowledging the terrifying reality of what it meant to be a child,” Kirichanskaya writes, “someone who existed on the margins of life, who possessed both intense vulnerability and incredible insight, unfiltered by adult biases. Sendak, along with literary innovator and legendary editor Ursula Nordstrom, created a book that would become emblematic of the richness and depth of children’s picture books.”

The Coming-of-Age Stories That Made Charlie Jane Anders

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At Clarkesworld Magazine, Charlie Jane Anders discusses the coming-of-age stories that shaped her award-winning science fiction and helped her confront the world in front of her. “What I love in a coming-of-age story is a character who is discovering their identity at the same time that they’re learning how the world works,” she says. “There’s something super powerful and also heartbreaking about realizing that the world wasn’t what you thought, while also claiming your own selfhood and your own power. I sort of think of Empire Strikes Back as the great coming-of-age story, alongside the Earthsea books. And more recently, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor.”

A History of Resilience, Documented by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim

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At the Margins, graphic novelist, painter, and translator Keum Suk Gendry-Kim discusses her newest book, The Waiting, inspired by her mother’s family separation and reunion in the midst of war. “I speak about the violence that took place in Korean history,” she says. “But with these stories, I am able to show the resilience of the people who lived through these hardships. The themes of all my books are connected. My parents lived through these events—sometimes intimately, sometimes just by being alive—and I come from them.”