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Lauren Elkin on seriousness and levity; Monica Huerta’s conversation series asks what we want from personal writing

Monica Huerta

The Appeal, a news site focused on criminal justice reform, is back and worker-led after being shut down this summer by management. They will publish their first special package of stories in November, and are asking for donations to support the relaunch.

For the Paris Review, Claire-Louise Bennett corresponds with Lauren Elkin, whose most recent book, No. 91/92: Notes on a Parisian Commute, was composed during Elkin’s bus rides to and from work at a university. Elkin writes to Bennett about being “in thrall” to Susan Sontag during her twenties and thirties, and recognizing the “split” this created in her earlier work. Since then, Elkin has “been trying, in my writing since then, to find a way to write with both seriousness and levity, to find a way to be both critic and practitioner at once. And keeping these diaries was, I think, a way of writing myself out of that critical obedience and into a kind of hybrid disobedience.”

In answer to a recent open letter by Jennifer Croft and Mark Haddon, Pan Macmillan UK has announced that they will acknowledge translators on the covers of all reprints and new publications going forward. Macmillan is the first of the Big Five publishers to make this commitment.

For The Nation, Dilara O’Neill writes about Virginie Despentes and her 2006 manifesto King Kong Theory, “an origin story that begins with her rape and the shame it caused.” The French writer then “replaces exasperation with renewed clarity. Rape, Despentes writes, is a part of culture going back to the biblical era, but it is also the ‘skeletal frame’ of capitalism.”

Labyrinth Books, the Princeton Public Library, and Princeton University’s Lewis Center present “Personal Limits,” a new virtual conversation series hosted by Monica Huerta. The first conversation is happening today at 5:30pm EDT. Each installment of the series will “take up a provocation from Magical Habits to think about how contemporary writers are experimenting with the personal and what readers want from personal writing in our moment.” Today, Huerta will be joined by Sarah Chihaya and Merve Emre.