A study examining the brain activity of experienced and novice writers showed differences in the two groups of subjects: the caudate nucleus, which figures in skills that come with practice, was active in experts; in novices it wasn’t. As Carl Zimmer explains at the Times, “the inner workings of the professionally trained writers in the bunch” resembled those of “people who are skilled at other complex actions, like music or sports”: “When we first start learning a skill — be it playing a piano or playing basketball—we use a lot of conscious effort. With practice, those actions become more automatic.”
Rachel Rosenfelt, formerly Editor-in-Chief of the New Inquiry, is joining Gawker as Executive Producer. Buzzfeed reports that the position will entail helping Gawker leadership on “strategy, recruitment, and special projects.” Rosenfelt will remain publisher of the New Inquiry, which she co-founded.
At the New Republic, the Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard celebrates the Argentine soccer player Angel di Maria, noting, among other things, his “fantastic” resemblance to Kafka. “Soccer is the antithesis of literature, because the magic spell it casts has no consequences; when the match is over, it is forgotten, and the unexpected which opens up reveals nothing other than itself. In this way soccer is closer to life, which literature is always seeking to give depth to, to imbue with meaning, but which presumably only has depth and meaning there, in literature.”
A Martin Scorsese documentary starring Robert Silvers, the editor of the New York Review of Books, showed at the Sheffield Documentary Festival this month.
The renowned Spanish literary agent Carmen Balcells will be forming a new venture with Andrew Wylie, the Balcell-Wylie agency, that will bring her writers under joint management with Mr. Wylie. Balcells, who is 83, represents Mario Vargas Llosa, Isabel Allende, Javier Cercas, and the estates of Carlos Fuentes and Pablo Neruda. She told the Times that she “never wanted to be important.” “I wanted to be independent, autonomous at a time when a woman without a rigorous education, without a powerful family, couldn’t choose what to do on her own.”