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The winner of the Tournament of Sex Writing, and other book news

Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

They said a novel about male sexual desire couldn't be written. But they didn't know John Colapinto.

After her death, her reputation rapidly faded. Despite a series of obituaries that hailed her as America’s foremost female writer, she was left out of the literary canon formed at the turn of the twentieth century. She wasn’t alone: as the canon took shape, it was all male, eclipsing the contributions of women writers.

The Tombs of Atuan captures the essence of great fantasy in a way few other works of fantasy can ever hope to match. If the purpose of fantasy is to explore the interior—the inner space of the human soul—no one has done this with greater effectiveness than Le Guin does in this novel.

  • Publisher’s Weekly talked to Beverly Cleary about her upcoming 100th birthday and what her characters are up to now:

"Beezus," Cleary surmises, "would be a nurse, or a teacher, and would marry and have maybe two children. She would struggle in today’s world to bring them up properly." As for Henry, "he would be a building contractor, because he built a clubhouse. And Ramona—I really don’t know," she says. "I think she would probably try several different jobs and maybe go backpacking around Europe with some friends."

African fiction is packaged and circulated, bought and sold not on the basis of its aesthetic value but of its thematic preoccupation.

This perception of African literature has a history. It can be traced to what I’ve come to think of as the anthropological unconscious of the African novel. Academic institutions were the first to notice that there was such a thing as African fiction.

  • NPR discusses how YA lit can help teens talk about and understand sexual consent.

"The first time I taught Speak, someone disclosed they had been raped to me," he remembers. "And it was actually a boy." He says that every year he taught the novel, students privately told him similar stories.

  • April marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and just in time, a Scottish manor house has found a new First Folio. That brings us up to 234 worldwide.
  • That Gay Talese scandal, in which the author and journalist reportedly said he couldn't name a single female writer who inspired him, sure was unfortunate.
  • Over at Catapult, Tanwi Nandini Islam recounts what it's like to go on tour as a new, unknown author:

Being on the road for weeks at a time is a romanticized trope. I wanted to believe myself some sort of traveling author inciting crowds while signing millions of books. That’s not reality for a debut author.

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