June 3, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
The Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize) has a new partner: Baileys, the Original Irish Cream Liquor. Quoth Kate Mosse, Chair of the Women’s Prize for Fiction board, “We were impressed not only by the scale of their ambition, but also their passion for celebrating outstanding fiction by women and willingness to help in bringing the prize to ever wider audiences.” This we do know: they have long celebrated the fiction that beautiful women constantly drink large glasses of Baileys on the rocks. But we’re happy to see the prize getting sponsorship—at least through 2017.
May 29, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
Writes filmmaker Tom Bean,
George and Robert Kennedy were close friends for many years, and their relationship weaves into George’s story in interesting ways. Bobby had encouraged George to marry his first wife, Freddy, while they were all traveling on the ’68 presidential campaign together (George was making appearances and speeches on behalf of the campaign). Later, when Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, George dove on the attacker and helped disarm him. We spoke with Robert Kennedy Jr. about his memories of George’s relationship with his parents, and I think he perfectly articulated George’s love of adventure and his whole-hearted embrace of life.
Plimpton! is playing at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center.
May 28, 2013 | by Lorin Stein
The proofs of our Summer issue just arrived at Twenty-Seventh Street from the printer. This afternoon is our last chance to catch any mistakes. You always find a few typos—and we have more names to spell-check than usual, because this issue contains more stories, poems, and interviews than any in recent memory.
Some of these writers are regular contributors, including Lydia Davis—with her first publication since she won the 2013 Man Booker International Prize for fiction—and David Gates, whose new story is a favorite of his and ours. Others are writers we’ve been waiting to publish for a while, namely Ben Lerner, whose first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, is one of the best debuts we’ve seen in the past few years, and Kristin Dombek, whose essays in n+1 electrified us. The newly translated stories by Robert Walser are from his groundbreaking 1904 collection, Fritz Kocher’s Essays. This book (which won the admiration of Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin) made me feel for the first time that I understood what all the fuss is about.
Still others, including Emma Cline, Gillian Linden, and the Italian poet Patrizia Cavalli—translated by the likes of Jorie Graham and Mark Strand—are new to us and will probably be new to you. We look forward to saying, You read them here first.
Plus, three interviews.
Two are devoted to the art of literary biography. Michael Holroyd’s lives of Lytton Strachey and George Bernard Shaw, among others, revolutionized the study of Bloomsbury and Edwardian literary history.
I am a great believer in private life, which is quite unfashionable now—to be a celebrity is the thing, or you are nothing. But I believe in private life for the living, and I think that when one is dead one should be a little bit bolder, so that the rest of us may have some record of how things actually were. Otherwise we will be left with well-meant lies, which add to the difficulties of life and lead to real misunderstanding.
Hermione Lee’s biographies of Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, and Edith Wharton are just as influential.
What is it like to write a death scene?
It depends how they died. Some cynical biographer said to me, Make sure it’s a good death. Make sure you’re not picking someone who just declined.
Finally, we have an Art of Fiction interview with the Nobel laureate Imre Kertész. It is, according to Kertész, the last interview he will ever give. Luisa Zielinski’s probing, sensitive questions explore the reasons that Kertész—ten years after he survived the Holocaust—decided he had to write.
Look, I don’t want to deny that I was a prisoner at Auschwitz and that I now have a Nobel Prize. What should I make of that? And what should I make of the fact that I survived, and continue to survive? At least I feel that I experienced something extraordinary, because not only did I live through those horrors, but I also managed to describe them, in a way that is bearable, acceptable, and nonetheless part of [a] radical tradition … Perhaps I’m being impertinent, but I feel that my work has a rare quality—I tried to depict the human face of this history, I wanted to write a book that people would actually want to read.
May 22, 2013 | by Lorin Stein
Hats off to our beloved contributor Lydia Davis, who was just awarded the Man Booker International Prize, Great Britain’s most prestigious prize for fiction. In the judges’ citation, Sir Christopher Ricks asked how best to describe Davis’s works: “Just how to categorise them? They have been called stories but could equally be miniatures, anecdotes, essays, jokes, parables, fables, texts, aphorisms or even apophthegms, prayers or simply observations.”
Click here to read some of Davis’s most recent fiction in The Paris Review—or click here to receive our next issue, with five of her newest stories (or miniatures, or anecdotes, or essays, or whatever you’d like to call them).
May 22, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
May 17, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
Writes filmmaker Tom Bean, “George’s first piece of ‘participatory journalism’ was to pitch in a baseball all-star game at Yankee Stadium in 1958. He wrote about his experience for Sports Illustrated and then expanded the piece into a book called Out of My League, which he got his friend and mentor Ernest Hemingway to blurb (Hemingway called the book ‘Beautifully observed and incredibly conceived’). This is the event that launched George’s career as a writer. One of our goals for the movie was to have George narrate as much of his own story as we could (cobbled together from interviews, TV appearances, and speeches), and I think this scene serves as a good illustration of that approach.”
Plimpton! opens May 22 at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center.