paper trail

Margo Jefferson and Leslie Jamison on preserving multiplicity; “The Drift” contributors consider the state of literary fiction

Margo Jefferson. Photo: © Claire Holt

In the new issue of The Drift, Alexandra Kleeman, Christian Lorentzen, Tope Folarin, Hannah Gold, and more weigh in on the state of contemporary literary fiction: “​​Which styles are dying out, and which are flourishing? What’s changed since 2020, or even 2015? Glibly… did the pandemic kill autofiction?”

BOMB magazine shares an archival interview with painter Duncan Hannah, who died on Saturday at the age of sixty-nine. In the 1982 interview, Simon Lane asked Hannah about his paintings of famous writers. Of James Joyce, the painter said: “People treat Joyce so seriously, and he was really a big comedian. He loved to bring out his ukulele and play for people, roaring drunk.” 

At 4Columns, Brian Dillon reviews Hilary Mantel’s Learning to Talk, a story collection published in the UK in 2003. The stories are, “says Mantel in a new preface, not so much autobiographical as autoscopic; she regards her youth from a sharpening distance.” 

Granta has published an exchange between writers and colleagues Margo Jefferson and Leslie Jamison. Responding to Jamison, Jefferson writes: “You write, ‘it’s always a delusion to feel we encounter anything but this multiplicity when we’re encountering another person.’ I wish every reader of non-fiction (myself included) could have that tattooed on their forearm. We’d stop holding narrators to account as if they were sitting in the dock, being cross-examined about their Truly True selves and too often, by that dubious standard, having their words used to exonerate or to condemn them.”

On June 23rd at 7pm EDT, McNally Jackson’s Seaport location is hosting a panel on the life and work of Janet Malcolm, with writers Katie Roiphe, Alice Gregory, Laura Kipnis, Sasha Weiss, and Daphne Beal.