Jane Austen bling. Photograph: The Department for Culture, Medi/PA
England’s Minister of Culture has barred singer Kelly Clarkson from leaving the country with a ring that once belonged to Jane Austen, claiming that the item is a significant part of England’s cultural history. Clarkson bought the ring at auction last year for over $200,000, and it is one of three existing pieces of jewelry known to have belonged to the writer. A temporary export ban is in place until September 30, and may be extended until the end of the year.
Stephen King is not only a brand, but the head of a literary dynasty: The New York Times profiles the King clan, which includes five published novelists and a dog named after Larry McMurtry.
Last May, George Saunders delivered the convocation speech to graduates at Syracuse University. This week, the New York Times found out about it and posted the transcript on their website.
At The Morning News, Doug Mack writes a lovely essay in defense of the travel guidebook, and its often-overlooked role as an instigator of social change: “What struck me most,” Mack says of his favorite of these books, is that “in a very tangible way, Europe on Five Dollars a Day had guided the very path of cultural change itself, its impact manifest in every hostel-lined Amsterdam alley, every Roman trattoria whose tables bore more guidebooks than wine bottles.”
Are Kurt Vonnegut’s novels in line to be adapted into vampire sexcapades? Possibly—Amazon announced this week that writers will now be able to license and sell fan fiction adapted from any of Vonnegut’s novels on the company’s new Kindle Worlds platform. In a statement to the press, a member of the Vonnegut estate described the move as “a natural extension of his legacy and a testament to the enduring popularity of his characters and stories. Billy Pilgrim, unstuck in time, is going to quickly become a Kindle Worlds favorite.”