On the Believer website, Sheila Heti interviews Patricia Lockwood as part of a new ongoing series of conversations about Twitter. “The only thing that dictates whether I respond to someone is whether I have something interesting to say in return,” Lockwood says of her Twitter habits. “I respond to people I don’t know at all, when their tweet hauls a nice fresh bucket of water up out of me, but if it comes up empty then I just stay quiet.”
Scott Esposito, editor of the Quarterly Conversation, takes issue with Tim Parks’s recent New York Review of Books blog piece on Knausgaard. Parks suggests that critics have manufactured a “huge international following” for the Norwegian writer where sincere praise would suffice. Esposito dissents: “Let’s not pretend Dan Brown’s ‘titanic’ sales are an apples to apples comparison with a literary writer.”
The Great English Novel is dead; long live the Twitter short story. The New Statesman, insisting that “fiction isn’t dying—but it is changing,” defends “The Right Sort,” a tale in tweets by the English novelist David Mitchell. Mitchell’s most recent novel, The Bone Clocks, has made the Man Booker longlist.
Jack White’s Nashville-based Third Man Records will officially launch a publishing wing, Third Man Books, with the August 5th release of Language Lessons: Volume 1. The box set will include two vinyl LPs, five posters, and a 321-page hardcover book featuring pieces by “punk godfather” Richard Hell, Pulitzer-nominee Dale Ray Phillips, and National Book Critics Circle winner in poetry, C.D. Wright.
At the New Republic, Tom Bissell recalls the morning in 2000 when William T. Vollmann’s 3,800 page Rising Up and Rising Down manuscript landed on his desk at Henry Holt. Fourteen years later, Bissell interviews the notoriously “uncorrupted literary mind” at his studio in Sacramento. They discuss Vollmann’s fascination with sex workers, and his refusal to use the Internet, carry a cell phone, or drive. That refusal makes sense if you’ve seen the Harper’s piece about his 785-page FBI file. Vollmann’s book of short stories, Last Stories and Other Stories was released this month by Viking. Bookforum recently interviewed him.