Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo [New York Times]
“The decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has prompted six writers to withdraw as literary hosts at the group’s annual gala on May 5, adding a new twist to the continuing debate over the publication’s status as a martyr for free speech. The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn from the gala, at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.”[more inside]
"There are a lot of people who are so innovative on twitter. That’s why it’s so puzzling to me when someone like Jonathan Franzen is like, 'twitter is murdering literature with a gun!' Twitter is seen as a millenial thing. Naturally, older people assume we only use it to send thousands of disrespectful selfies to God, or whatever the stereotype is nowadays." - Kimmy Walters (@arealliveghost) to Sheila Heti in Part One of The Believer Logger's interview series, "What Would Twitter Do?" [more inside]
Writer Teju Cole, perhaps inspired by Agha Shahid Ali, has continued his Twitter experimentation by using out of context retweets to create Ghazals. [more inside]
Teju Cole (previously) live-tweeted on Friday his trip across the Slave Coast from Lagos, Nigeria to Ouidah, Benin.
1. Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. Pity. A signature strike leveled the florist’s. The Disposition Matrix. Anti-Drone Camouflage: What to Wear in Total Surveillance. Drone City. Books Not Bombs.
He is unknown. No name, no profession, no identifying details, but he looks out with the calm sternness of one who knows his place in the world. And because of this calmness, this sternness—the skeptical gaze and tight lips—we suspect it might be an image of the artist himself. Why Is This Man Wearing A Turban?, by Teju Cole.
"From Sachs to Kristof to Invisible Children to TED, the fastest growth industry in the US is the White Savior Industrial Complex." (Teju Cole, The Atlantic)
Fifty years after British colonialism, ten years after military rule, Nigerians are free. Not economically free, not yet, and we see the effect of that lack of economic freedom in the kinds of crimes that are committed. But they are free in important ways. You can live where you want, associate with whom you want. You can sue people in court, gather to practice your religion, under the leadership of whichever holy man or charlatan you prefer, and you can marry and divorce as you please. This is a major thing. This is modernity, and to tell these stories, to give the protagonists of these losses even that little bit of attention, is to honor the fact that they are there, that their life goes on.On his twitter feed, novelist Teju Cole has been taking the French literary tradition of faits divers and adapting it to "bring news of a Nigerian modernity."
Teju Cole is a Nigerian who is returning home after years in the US. His writing is some of the best online prose I have ever read. Good photographs too.