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RIP Gloria Naylor

Gloria Naylor, author of The Women of Brewster Place, passed away on Sept. 28 at the age of 66.
posted by girlmightlive on Oct 3, 2016 - 20 comments

Llama llama red pajama feels alone without his mama

"Children’s author, illustrator, and educator Anna Dewdney, whose toddler-centric picture books starring wildly expressive Baby Llama are multi-million-copy bestsellers, died at her home in Vermont on Saturday, September 3, after a 15-month battle with brain cancer. She was 50." — Publisher's Weekly [more inside]
posted by brentajones on Sep 6, 2016 - 30 comments

“What bothers me is the way people were applauding him.”

To "more fully understand why conservative [American] politics [has] become synonymous with no-questions-asked support of Israel," Author Tom Bissell went on a ten day “Stand with Israel Tour” hosted by right-wing Jewish Conservative talk show pundit Dennis Prager. My Holy Land Vacation: Touring Israel with 450 Christian Zionists, is this month’s Harper’s Magazine cover story. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 12, 2016 - 29 comments

I've won the game of not taking myself too seriously.

No more Mr. Nice guy - From Kenfig schoolboy to international drug importer via an Oxford education.
By the mid-1980s Howard Marks had 43 aliases, 89 phone lines and 25 companies operating throughout the world. Wiki is informative
As he said of himself I've won the game of not taking myself too seriously.
A Rhondda man recalls as does another welshman. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Apr 11, 2016 - 16 comments

A Century of Beverly Cleary

“I owe my literacy learning and appreciation to a mother who loved reading, read aloud, and believed in the use of the public library, and to my teachers who were strict in teaching the tools of writing.” Beverly Cleary celebrates her hundredth birthday next week. She recently spoke to the Oregonian about her long career. [more inside]
posted by tractorfeed on Apr 7, 2016 - 34 comments

“It's fierce, an' it's wild..."

RIP Barry Hines, author of A Kestrel for a Knave that was adapted into the British film classic Kes. He also wrote the screenplay for Threads. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 21, 2016 - 16 comments

“Truly no, I am not Elena Ferrante,”

Who is Elena Ferrante? Novelist issues denial as guessing game goes on. by Rosie Scammell [The Guardian] Unmasking the true identity of the pseudonymous author Elena Ferrante has become Italy’s favourite – and increasingly farcical – literary parlour game. The latest writer forced to deny that she is the creator of the critically acclaimed Neapolitan novels is Marcella Marmo, a professor of contemporary history at the University of Naples Federico II. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Mar 19, 2016 - 25 comments

RIP Pat Conroy

Best-selling author Pat Conroy has died at the age of 70. [more inside]
posted by The Gooch on Mar 5, 2016 - 28 comments

The Trials of Alice Goffman

‘‘Alice used a writing style that today you can’t really use in the social sciences.’’ He sighed and began to trail off. ‘‘In the past,’’ he said with some astonishment, ‘‘they really did write that way.’’ The book smacked, some sociologists argued, of a kind of swaggering adventurism that the discipline had long gotten over. Goffman became a proxy for old and unsettled arguments about ethnography that extended far beyond her own particular case. What is the continuing role of the qualitative in an era devoted to data? When the politics of representation have become so fraught, who gets to write about whom? [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 13, 2016 - 60 comments

You still writing? You in any newspapers?

Chris Rose’s Pulitzer crystal sits in his small French Quarter apartment, its glass badly chipped from various accidents. The disfigured accolade for his work on a reporting team at the Times-Picayune is a reminder of both prowess and loss... Since then, New Orleans’ news community has seemingly cast Rose aside. No journalism entity in town will hire him, he tells me, not even freelance... And so for all of 2014, the 53-year-old Rose was waiting tables to pay rent and feed his three kids.
The irredeemable Chris Rose
posted by spinda on Jan 4, 2016 - 19 comments

You write funny.

The Writers Guild of America has released their list of The 101 Funniest Screenplays.
posted by Room 641-A on Nov 14, 2015 - 126 comments

Dear Friends

A contemporary fictional account of promoting contemporary fiction.
posted by DarlingBri on Oct 8, 2015 - 4 comments

“People always leave traces. No person is without a shadow.”

Henning Mankell, Dean of Scandinavian Noir Writers, Dies at 67 [The New York Times]
Henning Mankell, the Swedish novelist and playwright best known for police procedurals that were translated into a score of languages and sold by the millions throughout the world, died Monday morning in Goteborg, Sweden. He was 67. Mr. Mankell was considered the dean of the so-called Scandinavian noir writers who gained global prominence for novels that blended edge-of-your-seat suspense with flawed, compelling protagonists and strong social themes. The genre includes Arnaldur Indridason of Iceland, Jo Nesbo of Norway and Stieg Larsson of Sweden, among others.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Oct 5, 2015 - 34 comments

“I like the half-rhyme. I like 'greatest' & 'played with'. That's good.”

Salman Rushdie Reads Drake Lyrics. [YouTube]
Salman Rushdie's a 68-year-old award-winning novelist but he can also spit bars — Drake's bars. In this clip from Exhibitionists, a new CBC Arts series premiering Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 4:30pm, watch Rushdie read selected lyrics from hip hop icon Drake.
posted by Fizz on Oct 2, 2015 - 2 comments

Palestinian journalist, Said K. Aburish, died on August 29

Three years ago today saw the end of Palestinian writer Saïd Aburish. Parkinson's disease, he was 77. Aburish chose America for education and early life experience that included Princeton, the US Army and Madison Avenue. Aburish went to ground after writing this book. Of all the obituaries, Marian Houk's of The Independent is by far the most knowing, and his keenest publisher had kind things to say. The Guardian said Aburish "did much to illuminate the relationship between the Middle East and the west," and "Aburish’s writing was notably blunt" said the New York Times. At Twitter, and Google. R.I.P.
posted by Schroder on Aug 29, 2015 - 3 comments

“I’m a white guy and an African; the son of Europeans and Mozambicans;”

Novelist Mia Couto discusses his hopes for conservation after the death of Cecil the lion, and his memories of Mozambique’s bloody civil war. [The Guardian] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Aug 26, 2015 - 2 comments

China’s most controversial,most honored, most censored author

China’s Most Censored Author Published His Riskiest Book Yet [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 8, 2015 - 4 comments

“The dreams are the skeleton of all reality.”

James Salter, a ‘Writer’s Writer’ Short on Sales but Long on Acclaim, Dies at 90 [New York Times]
James Salter, whose intimately detailed novels and short stories kept a small but devoted audience in his thrall for more than half a century, died on Friday in Sag Harbor, N.Y. He was 90. His wife, Kay Eldredge, confirmed his death, saying he had been at a physical therapy session. He lived in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Mr. Salter wrote slowly, exactingly and, by almost every critic’s estimation, beautifully. Michael Dirda once observed in The Washington Post that “he can, when he wants, break your heart with a sentence.”
Previously. Previously.
posted by Fizz on Jun 20, 2015 - 14 comments


Elena Ferrante, the author of the Neapolitan Novels, discusses how she shapes her stories, her characters, and her decision to remain out of the public eye
posted by PussKillian on Jun 10, 2015 - 9 comments

“Doubt makes a man decent.”

Harry Crews: Guilty As Charged [YouTube]
Examines the life and work of Harry Crews. Appearances by James Dickey, Byron Crews, Maggie Powell, Johnny Fieber and William Schafer. Music by Frank Schaap and Byron Crews. Associate Producers: Robert Morris and Latelle Lafollette. Camera and Lighting by Mike Brower and Arthur Rouse. Edited by Tom Thurman and Mike Brower.
posted by Fizz on Jun 9, 2015 - 10 comments

The Master of the Apocalypse

László Krasznahorkai, the Hungarian author, wins the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. Awarded for his work, including the only recently available in English Satantango, and the The Melancholy of Resistance (1993 Book of the Year in Germany). Master of the long sentence his work has won praise from critics as a writer who is "fascinated by apocalypse, by broken revelations, indecipherable messages" [See New Yorker link above] and has been praised by many writers, including Susan Sontag, who described the apocalyptic vision of his writing as inviting comparisons to Melville and Gogol. He has collaborated extensively with Hungarian film director and master of the long take, Béla Tarr, including a 7 hour production of Satantango (SLYT) and Tarr's bleak, final work The Turin Horse (SLYT, Hungarian, turn sub-titles if required). Lovingly and expertly translated into English by British poet and Hungarian-born George Szirtes and more latterly by the Hungarian translator Ottilie Muzlet, Krashnorkai caused something of a literary sensation when he visited New York in 2012. As usual The Guardian has a useful summary of, and guide to, his work including many useful links. None are better than the author's own website. I would also recommend the interview with him in The White Review to read what the author has to say for himself. Previous love for Krasznahorkai on Metafilter can be found here and here.
posted by vac2003 on May 20, 2015 - 7 comments

"...it has been enormously fun being two people."

K.J. Parker’s Identity Revealed
For 17 years - since the publication of Colours in the Steel - the identity of K.J. Parker has been one of fantasy literature's most tightly-kept secrets. Now, after a dozen novels, a collection of short stories, a handful of essays and two World Fantasy Award wins, K.J. Parker has stepped forward...
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Apr 23, 2015 - 37 comments

"The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open."

Günter Grass, German Novelist and Social Critic, Dies at 87 [New York Times]
Günter Grass, the German novelist, social critic and Nobel Prize winner whom many called his country’s moral conscience but who stunned Europe when he revealed in 2006 that he had been a member of the Waffen-SS during World War II, died on Monday. He was 87.
Previously. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Apr 13, 2015 - 36 comments

Elia W. Peattie: Collecting the work of a 19th Century Author

The Nonpareil of Council Bluffs has a new editor who says uncomplimentary and fairly humorous things about the 'new woman' — which show him to be an 'old man.’
Elia Wilkinson Peattie (1862-1935) was an incredibly prolific journalist, novelist, playwright, poet, and short story writer during a time of great American change. Dr. Susanne George Bloomfield of the University of Nebraska (supported by the The Plains Humanities Alliance) has gathered a wide sampling of her work in this digital archive, adding context and historical reference to the original works. [more inside]
posted by julen on Mar 15, 2015 - 2 comments

“I think it’s about authenticity,”

Don't Judge A Book By Its Author by Aminatta Forna [The Guardian]
‘I have never met a writer who wishes to be described as a female writer, gay writer, black writer, Asian writer or African writer’ … Aminatta Forna on her frustration at the book world’s obsession with labels and identity.
posted by Fizz on Feb 13, 2015 - 10 comments

anxieties about lurid voyeurism, unwholesome interest: In Cold Blood

"Much has been said about the storytelling techniques of 'Serial,' which comes out in weekly installments even as the show’s host, Sarah Koenig, reinvestigates the conviction of a Baltimore-area teenager for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. The serialized approach teases its audience with cliffhangers, prompts its listeners to construct their own theories and invites outsiders to glimpse the tricky winnowing process of reporting. But 'Serial' also testifies to how much the criminal justice system itself is founded on storytelling." (Laura Miller, Salon: The new "In Cold Blood" revisionism: Why it doesn't matter if Capote’s classic wasn't fully true) [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Dec 8, 2014 - 31 comments

Tyranny is the removal of nuance. See ballroom dancing.

Guardian: Alexei Sayle’s Marxist demolition of Strictly Come Dancing. In which the English Marxist-Leninist comedian and author details his dislike of the British version of Dancing with the Stars.
posted by Wordshore on Nov 30, 2014 - 54 comments

Ripping up the SFF-Scene Requires Hate

Requires Hate, aka Benjanun Sriduangkaew, is a multiple, serial & proven bully, liar & manipulator says fantasy author Juliet McKenna. She and other authors (like Ian McDonald) are taking up arms in the controversy around the machinations of one writer that are shaking up the SFF publishing world. [more inside]
posted by Omnomnom on Nov 7, 2014 - 151 comments

An enthusiastic public reading journal.....

In Praise of Anne Rice's Amazon Reviews
posted by The Whelk on Oct 19, 2014 - 30 comments

'Am I being catfished?' An author confronts her number one online critic

When a bad review of her first novel appeared online, Kathleen Hale was warned not to respond. But she soon found herself wading in (The Guardian)
posted by Quilford on Oct 18, 2014 - 118 comments

When Science Fiction Grew Up

How renegade sci-fi writers of the 1960s paved the way for today's blending of literary and genre fiction [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 15, 2014 - 34 comments

"I guess everybody has something they’re not very grown-up about."

Zilpha Keatley Snyder, author of 43 books for children and young adults, died from complications of a stroke on October 7, 2014.She won three Newberry Honor Awards
posted by jeather on Oct 14, 2014 - 53 comments

"You hide, they seek."

Thomas Pynchon and the Myth of the Reclusive Author By David Whelan [VICE]
posted by Fizz on Oct 13, 2014 - 44 comments

'the jingle allegedly contained a grammatical error.'

Why Academic Writing Stinks, by Steven Pinker
The curse of knowledge is a major reason that good scholars write bad prose. It simply doesn’t occur to them that their readers don’t know what they know—that those readers haven’t mastered the patois or can’t divine the missing steps that seem too obvious to mention or have no way to visualize an event that to the writer is as clear as day. And so they don’t bother to explain the jargon or spell out the logic or supply the necessary detail. Obviously, scholars cannot avoid technical terms altogether. But a surprising amount of jargon can simply be banished, and no one will be the worse for it.
Pinker's new book, a style guide, The Sense of the Style, has ten grammar rules it's OK to break (sometimes). He talks to Edge on Writing in the 21st Century, which includes the occasional fMRI.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 1, 2014 - 67 comments

"So I took up knife and fork and bade the waiter do his duty."

Lieut.-Col. Newnham-Davis was engaged in 1897 as the restaurant reviewer of the Pall Mall Gazette, and his reviews of London restaurants are collected in Dinners and Diners: Where and How to Dine in London, available online from The Dictionary of Victorian London. Newnham-Davis was a bon vivant, amateur of the theatrical world, and man of parts, and his reviews were equal parts reminiscence of the conversation with his pseudonymous companions and recollections and reviews of his opulent and lengthy Victorian dinners. [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Sep 27, 2014 - 28 comments

"distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car"

"Longings and Desires", a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.

Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
[more inside] posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 20, 2014 - 29 comments

"The road to Manderley lay ahead. There was no moon."

"The du Maurier sisters had, from their volatile, crowded childhood onward, formed this private country they could slip in and out of, where "menaces" and "Venetian tendencies" could be freely discussed. In other words, they found a way to use games of pretend to tell the absolute truth." - Carrie Frye on author Daphne du Maurier and her seminal gothic novel, Rebecca.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 19, 2014 - 13 comments

“Some people feed you with love.”

We've Lost One Of The Great Fantasy Writers: R.I.P. Graham Joyce
"Graham Joyce was a monumental writer in the fantasy genre. His humane, intense writing was like a masterclass in how to put story first, and he knew how to write people, with all our blind spots and our hopeful mistakes. He died today of lymphatic cancer, and it's a huge loss to fantasy literature."
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Sep 9, 2014 - 18 comments

...in English, when someone is crazy, it's always in a food way?

Grub Street Diet asks various notable people to keep a food dairy for a week and then share it with the world. However, when they ask the "poet laureate of Twitter" (previously) author Patricia Lockwood to contribute, things so a little differently.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 6, 2014 - 24 comments

Unwise choices for rebutting reviews

Authors can choose to respond to reviews in many ways. This is a bad choice. Found at the LJ of James Nicoll.
posted by PussKillian on Aug 31, 2014 - 136 comments

Rob the Bouncer has left the club

Bob Ihlenfeldt, aka Rob Fitzgerald, aka Rob the Bouncer, died recently. I started reading about his exploits as a bouncer years ago. I bought his book. I didn't know that he was also the Angry Coach at EliteFTS. Here is the last post on his later blog. He was always an excellent writer.
posted by philquadra on Jun 28, 2014 - 21 comments

It's This or Get A Real Job

It's This or Get a Real Job is the subtitle to Greg Fallis' blog in which the former military medic, private detective, counselor in the Psychiatric/Security unit of a prison for women, professor at The American University in Washington, D.C. and at Fordham University in New York City, writer and photographer, offers his opinions on a variety of topics, such as mistakes, "After the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade, Field Marshal FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan (GCB, PC) acknowledged his error and said, “Well, let’s not do that again.” And he never ordered another cavalry charge against a redoubt with a battery of fifty cannons. That wasn’t Lord Raglan’s first mistake; he also had an arm shot to pieces at the Battle of Waterloo. But as his arm was being amputated, Raglan told the surgeon, “My bad, learned my lesson, sorry to be a bother.” And he never had another arm amputated for the rest of his life. Lesson learned."
posted by Atreides on Jun 24, 2014 - 28 comments

Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou 1928 - 2014
posted by saucysault on May 28, 2014 - 158 comments

Peter Matthiessen

Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing. "He is the only writer ever to win the National Book Award for nonfiction and fiction, but it’s not just the writing: Born into the East Coast establishment, Matthiessen ran from it, and in the running became a novelist, a C.I.A. agent, a founder of The Paris Review, author of more than 30 books, a naturalist, an activist and a master in one of the most respected lineages in Zen. As early as 1978, he was already being referred to, in a review in The New York Times, as a 'throwback,' because he has always seemed to be of a different, earlier era, with universal, spiritual and essentially timeless concerns." Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, Is Dead at 86.
posted by homunculus on Apr 5, 2014 - 40 comments

"That was I. That was me. That was the author of this book"

Kurt Vonnegut Reads Slaughterhouse-Five in 6 parts. Via discogs. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Mar 2, 2014 - 24 comments

William H. Gass on The Tunnel, Rilke (1998)

Captivating conversation between William H. Gass and Bookworm's Michael Silverblatt. Via
posted by holmesian on Mar 2, 2014 - 4 comments


On Persistence, And The Long Con Of Being A Successful Writer. by Kameron Hurley
posted by crossoverman on Jan 22, 2014 - 81 comments

Land of Sleep

Beautiful video from author Ransom Riggs. [more inside]
posted by holmesian on Dec 28, 2013 - 3 comments

Author Ned Vizzini has died

Young adult author Ned Vizzini has passed away at the age of 32 [more inside]
posted by holmesian on Dec 20, 2013 - 50 comments

“Mascara is an incredible hassle,”

William T. Vollmann: The Self Images of a Cross-Dresser [New York Times] From a profile on William T. Vollmann, in The New York Times. The profile centers around Vollmann’s latest book, The Book of Dolores.
posted by Fizz on Nov 17, 2013 - 20 comments

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