It’s September! The weather is getting crisper, the fancy prestige books are starting to come out, and the fancy prestige prizes are starting to make their choices. Below is a selection of the best the internet has to offer on books and related topics for the week of September 12, 2016.
- The National Book Award longlists are out for fiction, poetry, young people’s literature, and nonfiction. The shortlists will come out October 13, and the winners will be announced November 16.
- And the Man Booker Prize has announced its shortlist. The lit news website the Bookseller explains what the judges were thinking.
- Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday was this week! We celebrated here at Vox by ranking some of his children’s books. Meanwhile, the Telegraph has the skinny on how terrible Dahl was to work with, including a very frank letter from his publisher:
In brief, and as unemotionally as I can state it: since the time when you decided that Bob Bernstein, I and the rest of us had dealt badly with you over your contract, you have behaved to us in a way I can honestly say is unmatched in my experience for overbearingness and utter lack of civility.
The article also explains that in Dahl’s first draft of The BFG, the title character was a pedophile, and I’m sorry, but if I have to know that, so do you.
- Emily Books organized a panel on women’s writing, and the discussion was hopeful and enthusiastic:
During a debate about whether or not it was useful for ambitious, intellectual feminists to attempt to infiltrate and change what Gould called “elite cultural arbiter institutions,” Casey snorted. “Those institutions are already ours,” she said. “[Women] are all the people who work there. [Men] are just in charge.” The assistant crowd roared.
- And LitHub has a fun list of books featuring subversive women.
- The National Endowment for the Arts thinks America is the middle of a literary recession.
- Rebecca Solnit, the genius behind “Men Explain Things to Me,” offers tips for writers at LitHub:
Write a lot. Maybe at the outset you’ll be like a toddler — the terrible twos are partly about being frustrated because you’re smarter than your motor skills or your mouth, you want to color the picture, ask for the toy, and you’re bumbling, incoherent and no one gets it, but it’s not only time that gets the kid onward to more sophistication and skill, it’s effort and practice. Write bad stuff because the road to good writing is made out of words and not all of them are well-arranged words.
- And at the Guardian, Jeanette Winterson and a few others have more such advice:
Creativity is inexhaustible. Experiment, play, throw away. Above all be confident enough about creativity to throw stuff out. If it isn’t working, don’t cut and paste – scrap it and begin again.