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Remembering activist and lawyer Ady Barkan; Prudence Peiffer’s advice to writers

Prudence Peiffer. Photo: Charles Fulford.

In The Nation, a remembrance of activist and lawyer Ady Barkan, who died of ALS last week at the age of thirty-nine. As Sarah Johnson and Brad Lander write, Barkan did not let his diagnosis slow down his activism: “He recognized that his own story, his failing voice, his dying body had become powerful tools for change that he could add to his organizing toolkit. As he lost the ability to move, his organizing dexterity only grew.” 

For The Guardian, Moira Donegan writes about the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, and how conservative gender ideology has fuelled his rise: “The revelations that have emerged about Mike Johnson since his ascent to the speakership paint a picture of a fevered zealot: in thrall of baroque and morbid religious fantasies; beholden to a regressive, bigoted and morbid worldview; and above all, obsessed—with a lurid and creepy enthusiasm—with sex, and how he thinks it should be done.”

Art writer Prudence Peiffer answers Jon Winokur’s “Advice to Writers” questionnaire. On the subject of writing advice, Peiffer mentions Lucy Sante’s Paris Review interview, “where she talks about the importance of reading widely, far outside the subject of your project, to help find arguments and even sometimes actual details that will make their way into the book.” In her recent book The Slip, Peiffer notes, there are traces of Jenn Shapland’s My Autobiography of Carson McCullers and Deborah Levy’s memoir trilogy. 

For Esquire, Kate Dwyer talks with Andrew Lipstein, Tom Perrotta, Vanessa Chan, and other writers about making a living as an author and the day jobs many authors rely on for their livelihood. “If you’re going to make it as a writer today, you have to be compelled to write regardless of how much money it’s going to earn you,” Lipstein told Dwyer, “because it’s probably not going to earn you enough to only do that.”

For the Yale Review, Michael Azerrad reviews Thurston Moore’s “acutely self-conscious, if frustratingly un-introspective” new memoir Sonic Life and reflects on the legacy of the band: “They’d created a paradigm, a playground, in which they could do whatever they wanted. And that earned them even more respect, both within and without the musical community—although not record sales.”