paper trail

Torrey Peters, Mieko Kawakami, and three other women share their writing spaces; Gal Beckerman discusses how radical ideas emerge

Mieko Kawakami

At the Financial Times, Grace Cook talks with Torrey Peters, Mieko Kawakami, Megan Nolan, Hafsa Zayyan, and Brenda Navarro about the spaces where they write. Navarro can write anywhere as long as she has solitude and headphones, and told Cook, “Writer’s block is a thing for men with time.” 

For the New Yorker, Naaman Zhou writes about a Twitter account that documents second mentions, or elegant variations, in writing. For example, an article in The Guardian once described a fox who interrupted a soccer game by running onto the field as “the four-legged interloper.” Zhou notes that “the Greeks had their own verb for this—antonomazein, ‘to name differently’—which lends its name to the rhetorical technique antonomasia. Shakespeare was a master; John Milton calls Satan at least seven different things in the first book of ‘Paradise Lost’ (the ‘infernal Serpent,’ the ‘Apostate Angel,’ the ‘superiour Fiend,’ and so on).”

Wen Stephenson interviews Gal Beckerman about his new book, The Quiet Before: On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas, for the Los Angeles Review of Books. They discuss Soviet samizdat, social media and sociability, and Beckerman’s contention that radical ideas require “a certain amount of incubation.” 

Granta has published a reflection by Celia Paul on what she has tried to express in her new book, Letters to Gwen John: “I have compared and contrasted Gwen John’s experiences with my own. I have explored the question of whether she and I are culpable, in ways we don’t quite understand, of our overshadowing by more famous male artists and whether it is necessary to us to paint, silently and secretly, under cover of these shadows.”

Mark Haber is a bookseller at Houston’s Brazos Bookstore and the author of the new novel Saint Sebastian’s Abyss. Haber’s colleagues at the shop have put together a display of Haber’s ten favorite books that feature visual art, alongside his own novel.