"Fiction is messier. Essay is, for me, an attempt at a kind of clarity. I have a very messy and chaotic mind, but when I’m writing an essay I find I can exert a bit more control over it.” The The Guardian published a Q&A with Zadie Smith with questions from fellow authors, politicians, and fans. Smith's upcoming essay collection, Feel Free, is featured in the first half of our 2018 Great Book Preview.
"Still, what he captured with genius was the ontological unease of a world in which the human and the abhuman, the real and the fake, blur together." An essay in the Boston Review argues the importance of Philip K. Dick's literature— where the real and fake intersect and collide — and the world we live in today. From our archive: on the pleasures of Dick's sometimes awful prose.
"The idea came to Mr. Mallory one night as he sat on his couch watching an old favorite, Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a lamp switch on in the apartment across the street." Published under a pseudonym, former executive editor Daniel Mallory's debut novel The Woman in the Window was acquired and published by his own imprint. Pair with: an essay about the emergence of "reimagined thrillers" that create characters out of setting.
February 1st is the application deadline for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Anisfield-Wolf Fellowship in Writing and Publishing. It's a two year post-graduate fellowship that offers $40,000 per year while you work on completing a second book or starting a first. Apply now!
The New York Times dives into why prisons fear the New Jim Crow certain states have gone to great efforts to allow their prisons to ban it and in other states it's fairly difficult to obtain if you're a prisoner. We're big fans of the New Jim Crow here; it was a Millions staff pick and extremely popular on Year in Reading lists back in 2013.
Out this week: Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee; The Infinite Future by Tim Wirkus; Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block; Wild Is the Wind by Carl Phillips; and The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by the late Denis Johnson. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.
"But was I actually reading? I regarded myself as a reader, but were these really books?" In LitHub, James Tate Hill pens an essay about reading while visually impaired and the questions it raises in a print book obsessed world. Pair with: our own Bill Morris on hearing an actor narrate his novel's audiobook.
"A good translation, Han’s subconscious seems to suggest, is a living, breathing thing, which must be understood on its own terms, discovered from beneath the great white sheet." The New Yorker explores Han Kang's novels and the complex nature of translation. From our archives: The Millions review of Kang's The Vegetarian and an essay on what gets lost (and transformed) in translation.
"The eradication of Terry Pratchett’s unfinished works, the zeros and ones of his hard drive ground into the earth at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, is an imaginative exception to the rule." The Paris Review questions how we publish an authors posthumous works and whether there's a better way to do so. Pair with: our 2017 Select Literary Obituaries.