Sunday, June 30, 2013

What is literary fiction?

"Writers and editors continue to struggle ad nauseum over how to define literary fiction. I recently heard the editors of one indie house (of like mind and spirit to Atticus) speak of their goal and mission in terms of just knowing idiosyncratic work when they see it. You might say we’re all curators and perhaps even taste makers in this business, but the truth is we’re not in hard sciences here. Art belongs in murky waters. You can never describe how extraordinary marine life is to a person who has no interest in snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef … without getting frustrated. Some things are better left to be experienced than explained."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Failure is what writers do: Anne Enright

I have no problem with failure - it is success that makes me sad. Failure is easy. I do it every day, I have been doing it for years. I have thrown out more sentences than I ever kept, I have dumped months of work, I have wasted whole years writing the wrong things for the wrong people. Even when I am pointed the right way and productive and finally published, I am not satisfied by the results. This is not an affectation, failure is what writers do. It is built in. Your immeasurable ambition is eked out through the many thousand individual words of your novel, each one of them written and rewritten several times, and this requires you to hold your nerve for a very long period of time – or forget about holding your nerve, forget about the wide world and all that anxiety and just do it, one word after the other. And then redo it, so it reads better. The writer's great and sustaining love is for the language they work with every day. It may not be what gets us to the desk but it is what keeps us there and, after 20 or 30 years, this love yields habit and pleasure and necessity.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Will Self on Failure

To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one. It follows that to continue writing is to accept failure as simply a part of the experience – it's often said that all political lives end in failure, but all writing ones begin there, endure there, and then collapse into senescent incoherence.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

From a 1996 Live Online David Foster Wallace interview

Q: Do you mine the bleakness of our culture for your work?
A:I don't think one has to "mine" the culture any more.It's what we breathe. It's all around us.

Q: I read your cool piece on Dostoevsky in the village voice. Do you think "dosty" informs your work in any way?
A:Dostoevski informs everybody; or he ought to.

 Q:What's the worst character flaw of your work?
A: My worst character flaw that I'm conscious of is that I tend to think
my way into circles instead of resolving anything. It's paralyzing and
boring for people around me.

(Edited from a long, though interesting, transcript  now available at here.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Alice Munro retires from writing

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Getting published at 52

Monday, June 17, 2013

Most of the readers love bad books!

Since book publishing became a mass-market business, the quality level is constantly sinking. But there are still very good books around, in every country! The problem is that people can’t get them because they are hiding. People thought that with digitization, the good books would be easier to get. But the problem is that most of the readers love bad books! I have no explanation for the fact that modern societies have invested tons of money into schools and universities only to find out that horrible books are much more loved than the good ones…

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bloomsday arrives!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Shahmush Parsipur interview

Q: Why are you censored in Iran? 
 A: They like women who are sheep. This is the main reason. They don’t like women like me.Throughout history they have silenced powerful and intelligent women. They don’t like women in the highest places in culture. They like to hide women in homes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

London Science Museum publishes a novel, the first time

Shackleton’s Man Goes South by Tony White tells a "new tale of climate change refugees who are fleeing to Antarctica instead of from it as Shackleton had done, in a hot world rather than a cold one, but where the Shackleton story has become a founding myth of the new continent, much as the story of Christopher Columbus gave symbolic value to historical migration to the United States of America".

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Roberto Bolano's poem

Toward the end of 1992 he was very sick
and had separated from his wife.
That was the goddamn truth:
he was alone and fucked
and he tended to think there was little time left.
But dreams, oblivious to sickness,
showed up every night
with a loyalty that came to surprise him.
Dreams took him to that magical country
he and no one else called Mexico City
and Lisa and the voice of Mario Santiago
reading a poem
and so many other good things worthy
of the most ardent praise.

Read on ..

The Big, Mysterious world of Roberto Balano 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

John Green against self-publishing!

"I'm in the book business, the idea-sharing, consciousness-expanding, storytelling business. And I am not going to get out of that business. So fuck Ayn Rand and fuck any company that profits from peddling the lie of mere individualism. We built this together and we're going to keep building it together."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Kevin Barry wins the €100,000 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award.

“It’s a big money prize, and it’s always useful for a poor writer to be put in the vicinity of stacks of cash. It’s an unpredictable life and it’s great to be able to buy time to sit in my little room and invent these demented little words.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Read an excerpt from Jhumpa Lahiri's forthcoming novel

East of the Tolly Club, after Deshapran Sashmal Road splits in two, there is a small mosque. A turn leads to a quiet enclave. A warren of narrow lanes and modest middle-class homes.
Once, within this enclave, there were two ponds, oblong, side by side. Behind them was a lowland spanning a few acres.
After the monsoon, the ponds would rise so that the embankment built between them could not be seen. The lowland also filled with rain, three or four feet deep, the water remaining for a portion of the year.

Read on..

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Edurado Halfon interview

In Europe and the United States, there is still this idea that Latin American literature is defined by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the magical realist boom. They are looking for the new Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but magical realism exists only among a few writers. Throughout Latin America right now, the writing is far harder edged, far grittier, and much harder to classify or unify. There is a history we share, and a language. But as for literature, there isn’t a lot of similarity between one country and another.’

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