It’s another chilly one, but before I can complain about Chicago weather, I only have to look at pictures from Buffalo, NY, where more than five feet of snow blankets the city and more is predicted. That shuts me up.
Besides I don’t really want to post about the weather but literary news. First about Solace in So Many Words contributors.
Brent Calderwood is featured in OUT Magazine (as one of OUT 100)—congrats!
On the national level, at the National Book Awards, which were held last night Ursula K. Le Guin was honored and today writers are quoting her speech. You can watch the speech; I like this excerpt (which I found at the site of Parker Higgins):
“I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.
Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit and advertising revenue is not quite the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.”
Also at the NBA, the Fiction Prize went to Phil Klay for his book of short stories, Redeployment. Here’s a clip of the author reading from one of his stories (at The Old Stone House put on by Brooklyn Reading Works), and here’s the NY Times article about the award-winning writer.
Louise Glück was given the Poetry Prize her book Faithful and Virtuous Night. Here’s an interview with the poet, conducted by Claire Luchette for the Poetry Foundation. Poets & Writers featured the poet in a recent interview by William Giraldi and make it available to everyone in celebration.
For Young People’s Literature, Jacqueline Woodson won for brown girl dreaming. After she accepted the award, host Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) returned to the stage and attempted a stupid joke about watermelon. He’s apologized, but there’s been an uproar.
We all wish there was no reason for us to have to write and read about some topics. But that’s me wishing for a perfect world. There are tough subjects that keep coming up. Racism is one. We keep reading and writing about it because we’re not done. Rape is another such topic. In the media at large “Bill Cosby” and “alleged rapist” appear together in print. The literary world is talking about rape too. On October 2 in my post on Literary Wanderings, I wrote about the alt-lit scene.
The discussion first came to my attention when Sophie Katz (“We Don’t have To Do Anything”) shared her essay in Medium about “Stan,” then another women recounted a similiar situation and story in a Tumblr post, then more posts on social media followed and “Stan” was outted as former Pop Serial editor Stephen Tully Dierks. Then alt-lit author Tao Lin faced accusations. On October 3 writer Ellen Elizabeth wrote “An Open Letter to the Internet” (published in Hobart) addressing the allegations and what constitutes being a victim. On October 19 Black Lawrence Press released a statement that Ellen Elizabeth’s novella would be dropped from its forthcoming anthology called The Lineup. So now the discussion (as in the Cosby case) has widened — it’s about rape and its victims and also about shaming, shunning, silencing,etc.
Meanwhile another alt-lit author Gregory Sherl has been riding out a “storm of abuse, coercion, and sexual assault accusations from several women” explains a post in The Frisky. There’s also a post about it from January 31 by Dena Rash Guzman on Luna Luna, which might make you think it is old news, except that there is new outcry as Gregory Sherl’s book The Future of Curious People is featured as an editor’s pick on Oprah.com and appeals have been to that site (especially as it pro-women) as well as his publisher (Algonquin) to deal with the situation and drop him.
I wanted to end on a positive note, but this post has tired me out.
Peace, love, and solace