ESSENTIAL READING

The Book Business: Six Questions for Peter Blackstock 

 

Peter Blackstock, senior editor at Grove Atlantic and curator of the Festival Neue Literatur (March 2nd-5th), talks with our web editor about this year's festival, getting American audiences to read translated books, and having passion for literature. Blackstock's authors include the Center's First Novel Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Academy Award-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg, and the Booker-longlisted writer Eve Harris.  

 

"I’m interested in works that explore experiences that we don’t often see represented in fiction, and in strong original voices. The Sympathizer is in many ways a deeply American book, but it provides a profoundly new perspective on the Vietnam War, as Vietnamese voices have been largely sidelined in America." read more

The Book Drop: Whatever Happened to Kathleen Collins? 

by Jon Michaud


For this month’s Book Drop, our head librarian Jon Michaud examines Kathleen Collins’s posthumously published short story collection Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? Michaud discusses Collins’s use of cinematic elements, themes of race, and the parallels between the collection and Kia Corthron’s The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter

 

"With the exception of one story and a short play, Collins never published anything in her lifetime, which makes the arrival of this book feel like an unexpected gift." read now

Congratulations to Cal Morgan! 


The Center is thrilled to offer our congratulations to our Board Chairman, Cal Morgan, on his new position as a VP/Executive Editor at Riverhead Books. Formerly at HarperCollins, Cal has worked with writers Jess Walter, Roxane Gay, Tom Piazza, and many more. Check out this great interview with Cal on Lit Hub to find out more about his work. 

 

And you'll learn even more about Cal's reasons for doing what he does in this interview from a few years ago where he talked about how books draw us in, his love of editing, and his hopes for The Center. 

Four Surprising Influences on 

We Love You, Charlie Freeman

by Kaitlyn Greenidge

 

We asked First Novel Prize finalist Kaitlyn Greenidge to talk about some of the unusual influences behind her fantastic novel We Love You, Charlie FreemanHere, she discusses how a powerful nonfiction book, a country music song, a holiday movie, and a little corner of Boston all contributed to her debut novel. 

 

"We Love You, Charlie Freeman is as much a frustrated love story between Charlotte and her friend Adia, as it is a novel about a family. This song is the epitome of the word 'bereft' and I imagine if Charlotte knew it existed, she would have worn out her Walkman rewinding it to listen to it over and over again." READ NOW 

Silenced Voices

by Sheila Kohler

 

Center for Fiction favorite Sheila Kohler (author of the new hit memoir Once We Were Sisters), will lead a reading group for us called Silenced Voices, starting on March 13th. The group will investigate three classic works of literature, and three newer works inspired by them. In this essay, Kohler discusses the reinterpretation of characters from those classic works. Kohler herself will be diving into the celebrated character of Sonya from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment in a forthcoming novel. READ HER ESSAY NOW


Interested in Kohler's reading group? Sign up here.

Scenes & Summary

by Patricia Park


One of the first lessons of writing is "show don't tell," but if every writer stuck to that we'd be reading 5,000 page books. In this new craft essay, Patricia Park gives advice on knowing when to write a detailed scene and when to skip ahead! 

 

"For years I took the old creative writing adage of “show, don’t tell” to heart. I’d detail every trip my characters took to the bank, the bar, the bathroom. They were stuck in micro-orbits of the same quotidian actions; I produced bloated scenes that barely moved their stories forward. It took writing—then scrapping—hundreds of pages of writing for me to realize I needed to shake off that conventional wisdom." READ

Announcing Our Newest Spring Bootcamp:

Writing Resistance with Maaza Mengiste

 
What is the good of humane values? What is the purpose of literature in times like this? What can we do, as engaged members of the literary community, to ensure a better world for ourselves and the next generation? Writers have been asking these questions for centuries and offering responses that range from somber to satirical, but always vital. Join Maaza Mengiste on Saturday, March 18th for an afternoon of carefully curated readings from writers who have flourished creatively despite repressive regimes and discussion designed to engage and inspire both readers and writers of fiction alike. Learn more.



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