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Sunjeev Sahota Discusses His New Novel; Cornel West's Open Letter to Harvard

Sunjeev Sahota

Plans for the Frankfurt Book Fair are moving forward, with many international publishers committing to participating at the in-person conference, which will take place October 20 through 24.

Author, scholar, and activist Cornel West has posted his “candid letter of resignation” to Harvard University, which he says has succumbed to "intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of deep depths." West, a member of the faculty of the Harvard Divinity School, was recently denied tenure. “We all knew the mendacious reasons given had nothing to do with academic standards,” West writes of the university’s decision regarding his tenure. “I knew my academic achievements and student teaching meant far less than their political prejudices." West, the author of Race Matters and other books, is returning to Union Theological Seminary in New York.

At Medium, an anonymous Howard University faculty member writes an open letter to Nikole Hannah-Jones, who created the 1619 Project at the New York Times and recently joined the staff of Howard after being denied tenure at the University of North Carolina. The letter lays out a number of issues at Howard, such as the university’s treatment of non-tenure-track instructors. “I teach at Howard by choice,” the faculty member writes. “We teach at Howard by choice. But the Howard Administration’s awareness of our love for the University’s ethos and mission has resulted in abuse of the faculty. It doesn’t take 6 months to negotiate a contract with a faculty of this size asking for so little. It certainly doesn’t take 3 years of setting and canceling meetings to stall the work, threatening faculty who refuse to start teaching in a semester without a contract or reappointment agreement, or silencing Department Chairs and/or other faculty who support the collective bargaining efforts of their colleagues.”

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Jane Ratcliffe talks with Kiese Laymon—author of the novel Long Division and the memoir Heavy—asking him, among many other things, “How difficult is it for you to write about racism?” Laymon: “Nobody ever asked that question. I need to write about it so I can feel stable. But it’s sort of terrifying to write through what we have done with this idea of race in this world, but definitely in this nation. I try to sometimes lean into the absurdity of it because that’s how I can get through it. I need to laugh through parts of it. But I’m always crying through it. Because it’s all just sort of terrifying.”

Today at 5pm EDT, Sunjeev Sahota will discuss his new novel China Room with Anjan Sundaram (author of Stringer). You can register here. Tomorrow (July 15) at 5pm EDT time, Sahota will discuss China Room with novelist Karan Mahajan (The Association of Small Bombs).