Falling short: seven writers reflect on failure is a collection of seven short essays on failure by writers Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, Anne Enright, Howard Jacobson, Will Self and Lionel Shriver. These range from the meditative to the funny. Essays reflecting on literary failure are legion, but let me point you towards a couple more, the brief Failure Is Our Muse by Stephen Marche and the longer Fail Better by Zadie Smith.
Darren Aronofsky is developing Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy (Oryx and Crake, Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam) as an HBO series. Atwood says on Twitter that she's "met+ brainstormed with the Team and they're terrific!" Aronofsky had signed on with HBO in January.
"Would you let a skull pick you up at a bus stop? Definitely not. But on Twitter you find yourself doing all sorts of things you wouldn't otherwise do. And once you've entered the Enchanted E-Forest, lured in there by cute bunnies and playful kittens, you can find yourself wandering around in it for quite some time. You might even find yourself climbing the odd tree—the very odd tree—or taking refuge in the odd hollow log—the very odd hollow log—because cute bunnies and playful kittens are not the only things alive in the mirkwoods of the Web. Or the webs of the mirkwoods. Paths can get tangled there. Plots can get thickened. Games are afoot."
Web artifact made of solid gold CELEBRITY LECTURES SERIES from Michigan State University. Ten years worth of lectures were posted in 1998. They are all still there-- awaiting your return. Edward Albee ,Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Pat Conroy, Jacques d'Amboise, E.L. Doctorow, Richard Ford, Carlos Fuentes, David Halberstam, Joseph Heller, John Irving, Judith Jamison, William Kennedy, Norman Mailer, David McCullough, Terry McMillan, Arthur Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth, Jane Smiley, Susan Sontag, Amy Tan, Paul Theroux, John Updike,Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Derek Walcott, Garry Wills, August Wilson and Tom Wolfe. I listened to the Vonnegut lecture. Imagine-- a whole hour and a half (Well, I skipped the first 9 minutes of introductions.) with my favorite author wheezing and sputtering. How refreshing to hear him declaim in his own voice and reveal the happiest day of his life and his own favorite from among his works -"The Sirens of Titan".
The anchovies are restless. Margaret Atwood, grand dame of Canadian letters, addresses the future of publishing. [more inside]
With her writing career clearly going nowhere, Margaret Atwood has turned to a new vocation: costume design.
The art of Jason Courtney takes a personal tour on some of the moments of Margaret Atwood's dystopia Oryx & Crake - a visit to the pigoons or Snowman's morning view, pausing to reflect on the enigmatic beauty of Oryx. [more inside]
An interview with Margaret Atwood. [Sometimes bad interviews are the most interesting.]
An open letter to the Citizens of Atwood. This past week, the residents of the small town of Atwood, Kansas voted 984 to 113 to deny gay couples any rights for their relationships (including hospital visitation). Now, the man who set up the town's newspaper website has not only left Atwood, but taken down the website and posted a (mostly) measured response to the town in place of it. Will putting a human face on those being discriminated against ever change the minds of some people, or is one passage in the bible enough for some people to keep justifying their bigoted ways?
The Plight of the Pregnant Prisoner. Every culture has to decide what to do with their pregnant prisoners. Here in the USA, are we doing the best we can? And then there is the whole abortion debate.