Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room, Richard Powers’s The Overstory, Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, Daisy Johnson’s Everything Under, Robin Robertson’s The Long Take, and Anna Burns’s Milkman make up this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist. The winner will be announced next month.
The critics of the New York Times Book Review talk to John Williams about the Nobel Prize, which will not be awarded this year. “I fully intended to say that I was indifferent to the charade of the Nobel; that it’s madness to believe that literary excellence can be conferred by committee,” said Parul Sehgal, who then remembered finding authors like Kenzaburo Oe and Heinrich Böll through the prize. “I like to believe that I would have found these books anyway, but how long would I have had to wait?” Jennifer Szalai reflected on the rare instances when the prize has gone to nonfiction writers. “The boundaries within literature can be porous,” she said, “and if someone writes gorgeous work that happens to be called nonfiction, why shouldn’t that be considered literature?”
A recent survey by the American Press Institute found that “only 43 percent of people said they could easily sort news from opinion” on websites and social media.
Merve Emre talks to Longreads about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Jung, and her new book, The Personality Brokers.
At Electric Literature, Candace Williams talks to Eileen Myles about Palestine, teaching writing, and how Twitter has changed poetry. “I realized when I got a line, I could send it out to 25, or 50, 1,000, or 5,000 people depending on how many followers I had, and that you could engage the world regularly as a poet in a way that had never been possible,” Myles explained. “You could be alone and public at the same time. I realized that part of the difficulty with composing, in front of people was the fact of being in front of them. I can’t get up at a mic and write a poem but I can be sitting outside with my dog and get a good line and tweet it immediately. It’s revealed and hidden at the same time.”