• Celeste Ng. Photo: Kieran Kesner
    September 28, 2022

    Andrea Long Chu on Celeste Ng’s latest and “mixed Asian novels”; Blair McClendon, Claire Denis, and more on Godard’s legacy

    As part of a special editorial package “At Home in Asian America: Who Are We Becoming?” in this week’s issue of New York magazine, Andrea Long Chu writes about Celeste Ng’s Our Missing Hearts and considers what it and other “mixed Asian novels” offer readers. For Chu, these are novels written by people who, like their main characters, “are of both white and East or Southeast Asian ancestry”; these characters tend to share “a gnawing uncertainty” about their race and what it means to them. “Asian America is not an idea for these authors,” Chu writes, “but a sensation, a mild, chronic homesickness;

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  • Torrey Peters
    September 27, 2022

    Torrey Peters on writing and craft; Bookforum’s free event on sports and literature this Friday

    For Electric Literature’s “What Comes Next” series, in which debut authors talk about their second book, Isle McElroy talks with Torrey Peters. Peters tells McElroy, “When I thought of writing as a craft, I don’t think I knew what writing was for. I thought if you write something beautiful that is enough. Now, I feel that writing is largely about communicating something urgent to certain people.” 

    Bookforum is hosting a free online event on September 30th. “Sports Annotated,” will feature Lindsay Zoladz, Miranda Popkey, Ross Gay, and Thomas Beller discussing sports and literature. You can get

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  • Hilton Als
    September 26, 2022

    Hilton Als and others remember Joan Didion

    Publishers Weekly reports from the Joan Didion memorial service, which took place last week at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Speakers included Didion’s Knopf editor Shelley Wanger; New Yorker editor David Remnick; author and musician Patti Smith; actor Vanessa Redgrave; politician Jerry Brown; poet Kevin Young; and writers Hilton Als, Susanna Moore, Jia Tolentino, and Calvin Trillin. Nic Rowan provides his account of the Didion memorial at The Lamp: “The celebration, after all, was a publishing house’s attempt at making the myth of Didion as the Last All-American Writer.” 

    This fall,

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  • Hilary Mantel. Photo: Els Zweerink 
    September 23, 2022

    Hilary Mantel, author of historical fiction, has died; Dan Charnas’s book on J Dilla will be adapted as a documentary

    Hilary Mantel, the British author of seventeen books including Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, and The Mirror and the Light—which comprise her trilogy based on Thomas Cromwell’s life—has died at the age of seventy. In addition to her prize-winning historical fiction, Mantel wrote criticism and essays for the London Review of Books, contributing over fifty pieces since 1987. Today, the Review will unpaywall and share a selection of those writings. At his Substack, Leo Robson reflects on Mantel’s philosophy of historical fiction, her influences, and her friendship and collaboration with the

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  • Orhan Pamuk
    September 22, 2022

    New books from Orhan Pamuk and Imani Perry; the New York Public Library celebrates Toni Morrison

    For The Guardian, Lucy Hughes-Hallett reviews Orhan Pamuk’s latest, Nights of Plague, which takes place during the end of the Ottoman Empire.  Hughes-Hallett observes: “ it is a novel about a community ravaged by an incurable disease. It talks—in many different voices—about enforced isolation and lockdown. It tracks the way an epidemic justifies authoritarian measures, providing another way for Pamuk to make a veiled comment on Turkey’s current regime.” 

    Imani Perry’s new book, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, is out now. In an essay in The

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  • Sandra Cisneros. Photo: © Keith Dannemiller
    September 21, 2022

    Yxta Maya Murray interviews Sandra Cisneros about her new book of poems; Ryan Ruby on Ian McEwan and freedom of expression

    Yxta Maya Murray interviews Sandra Cisneros about her new book of poetry, Woman Without Shame, which is out now. After a wide-ranging conversation on poetry, her family, and her many awards, Murray asks Cisneros what her most significant relationship was. The poet mentions her dog, Camacho: “He loved me like no human being has ever loved me. Sometimes the great love of your life has four feet and a tail.” 

    There is still time to get free tickets to Bookforum’s online event, “Sports Annotated,” a discussion of fandom, obsession, and loss with Miranda Popkey, Lindsay Zoladz, Ross Gay, and Thomas

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  • Hua Hsu. Photo: Devlin Claro/New York Institute for the Humanities
    September 20, 2022

    Ryu Spaeth on Hua Hsu’s Stay True; Charlotte Shane argues for “the right to not be pregnant”

    For Vulture, Ryu Spaeth profiles Hua Hsu and argues that Hsu’s new coming-of-age memoir, Stay True, represents an evolution in Asian-American literature. While the book is largely an elegy to a college friend who was murdered after a party, it also depicts Hsu and his buddies just hanging out, with some highly comedic results: “The book has some very funny scenes of Hsu being embarrassed by his extremely basic friend, rolling up the car window so no one can hear Ken blasting ‘Crash Into Me’ on the stereo.”

    In Harper’s Magazine, Charlotte Shane writes an essay on abortion and “the right to not

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  • Jung Hae Chae
    September 19, 2022

    Jung Hae Chae wins Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

    Jung Hae Chae has been awarded the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize for her book Pojangmacha People. The prize, which was created to “honor and encourage the art of literary nonfiction,” has in the past gone to writers such as Kevin Young, Leslie Jamison, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Lars Horn. In addition to giving Chae a $20,000 advance and a $2,000 stipend, Graywolf will publish the book, which, according to the publisher, “deeply explores the idea of matrilineal inheritance of ‘han’ in the Korean diaspora...[and] centers the lives of ‘ordinary’ Korean women...who take action as the makers of their

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  • Still from The Rings of Power. Photo: Amazon.  
    September 16, 2022

    The National Book Award has announced its longlist for fiction and nonfiction; Jo Livingstone on The Rings of Power

    The National Book Award has announced its longlist for fiction and nonfiction. The finalists will be announced on October 4th. Eight of the ten nominated works of fiction were debuts.   

    On September 30th, Bookforum will host a Brooklyn Bookfest event, “Sports Annotated,” based on our summer issue about sports and literature. The panel will feature poet Ross Gay, critic Lindsay Zoladz, and novelist Miranda Popkey in discussion with moderator Thomas Beller. You can get your free tickets to the online event here.

    The US Verso Books union has ratified its contract after sixteen months of

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  • Yiyun Li. Photo: © Phillippe Matsas
    September 15, 2022

    The National Book Award for Translated Literature longlist; Yiyun Li on remaining “midthought” while writing

    Alexandra Kleeman profiles novelist Yiyun Li for the New York Times Magazine, and writes about Li’s latest novel, The Book of Goose, which will be published next week. Among the questions Kleeman poses is one borrowed from a character in Li’s 2019 novel Where Reasons End: “What do you do all day?” Over email, Li explains why she tries to stay “midthought” throughout the day: “I don’t think writing is the beginning of the thought, the beginning happens before we start typing the first word; and usually the thought doesn’t end when a story or a novel ends. The thought (several thoughts) still

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  • Jean-Luc Godard. Photo: Gary Stevens/Wikimedia Commons
    September 14, 2022

    Tributes to Jean-Luc Godard; Leslie Jamison on Choose Your Own Adventure books

    In tribute to filmmaker and montage master Jean-Luc Godard, who died yesterday in Switzerland by assisted suicide, Leo Robson has “assembled some of my favourite statements made by and about the director over the past seventy years.” The Paris Review has shared a partial transcript from a 1979 conversation between Godard and the writer and filmmaker Marguerite Duras. In a remembrance published online at n+1, Blair McClendon writes: “I never have much to say to giants. It was enough to know that he was out there—smoking a cigar, whining, planning—while I was elsewhere doing those same things,

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  • Javier Marías
    September 13, 2022

    Javier Marías has died at age seventy

    Javier Marías has died at age seventy. The Spanish writer, best known for his Your Face Tomorrow trilogy, was the author of more than fifteen novels, including Thus Bad Begins, and The Infatuations.  In 2018, Marías said in an interview with Garth Risk Hallberg, “A professor goes to give his lesson after 40 years . . . and the teacher knows he will give a good lesson, or at least a decent one. And he will do it with ease. And the carpenter who’s been making tables for 40 years or whatever knows he will succeed with the next table. But a novelist doesn’t know that at all!”

    On her Substack,

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