paper trail

Story Prize finalists announced; Leslie Jamison on objectivity

Zadie Smith. Photo: Dominique Nabokov

Edwidge Danticat’s Everything Inside, Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s Sabrina & Corina, and Zadie Smith’s Grand Union have been selected as finalists for this year’s Story Prize. The winner will be announced later next month.

At Literary Hub, Lynne Steger Strong remembers Elizabeth Wurtzel, who died earlier this week at age 52. “Wurtzel made more space for the rest of us to write complicatedly and to get messy, to not apologize for it later, to not continually take it back,” she writes. “I am so grateful to her, for how openly and unapologetically she was.”

On The Maris Review, Maris Kreizman talks to Leslie Jamison about personal essays, objectivity, and her recent essay collection, Make It Scream, Make It Burn. “I’ve always been less drawn to the idea of banishing all that baggage or affinities or investments to achieve the impossible clean slate of objectivity. I’m more interested in what can happen when we confess those investments and baggage,” she said. “You want to see a narrator on the page extracting some meaning from experience, but how do you have the sense of arriving at some meaning without them feeling reductive or overdetermined or too much like the Christmas present?”

For the New York Times, Joshua Barone profiles Garth Greenwell, whose new novel Cleanness will be published next week.

Jonathan Lethem’s Gun, With Occasional Music, is being adapted for TV.

“When I’m writing fiction, reading fiction rules itself out,” William Gibson tells the Times’s By the Book column about his reading habits while working on a book. “Anything that isn’t wonderful seems less interesting than whatever I’m writing, and anything that’s wonderful makes whatever I’m writing seem hopelessly shabby by comparison, triggering impostor syndrome.”