« Previous Month
Next Month »
"My first six months of teaching middle school in Harlem were brutal. I could not consistently control my classroom. I was physically assaulted twice and tried to resign three times. Each of the three mornings I arrived with a letter of resignation, one of my kids encountered me coming into school and interacted with me in a way that crushed my will to abandon them. The third time I arrived two hours early to avoid such an encounter, but a kid on the basketball court saw me and came over to sing the theme song to Welcome Back, Kotter."
"My mother is a feminist leader in Bangladesh. So I’ve grown up with all those ideas about strong, able women. I find that women make more interesting heroines -- their lives are always complicated by different kinds of stakes. Their choices are not always clear-cut."
"Homan: I'm continually fascinated by people from bigger cities or different parts of the country and the world who think that small-town Midwest, or small-town anywhere, is somehow more simplistic, naive, innocent than where they're from. In some ways that's true, but people are the same anywhere, and a lot of crazy shit goes down. I wanted to record some of the crazy shit."
"I still think of myself as a feminist critic or a feminist writer or thinker -- that informs all of the work I do. That’s the lens. I’m not going to talk about images without engaging with their politics. Their effects. I struggle with the word “writer” most, even though it seems like it is the most generous and expansive (and non-committal) way of describing what I do. Yet for other people, writer means fiction or novels. Means my work is free of politics. It means something romantic. It has old-fashioned connotations. It’s murky. It means you’ll be on Oprah."
I used to think my perfect fairy tale character was The Princess and the Pea, keenly sensitive to pointy objects under my (metaphorical) bedding. The Princess always seemed really obnoxious to me -- why would the Prince want to marry a girl who was going to whine about the tiny things that others manage to ignore? But now I think I might be more like Lady Li. Thinking I know what’s what. Crying all over my dress.
If this region of twentieth century travel writing could be mapped, you could draw a line linking three of its greatest masters: Robert Byron, Patrick Leigh Fermor, and Bruce Chatwin. It would be anything but a straight line, of course. It would loop back on itself a few times, branch out into quirky arabesques, and gradually reveal odd parallels and symmetries.
Trying to understand Oscar’s actions, Dosa met with families of patients who had died under Oscar’s watchful eye. Through those interviews, the book conveys the dark art of aging. Yes, the usual white flags of surrender are offered, about making the best of it all -- the little odes to living in the moment and to savoring the small victory. I’m not cynical about these but that’s only because Dosa allows them to snuggle up right next to the hard stuff, the grim physical decay, the steep slope of lost mental function, the sadness that wells up in hearts and eyes.
Barbara J. King
"I started writing Submarine in 2002, in my final year as an undergraduate at the University of East Anglia. It was quite different from most of the stories that I'd written before it, and it was the first time I'd really felt a character's voice come through very clearly. Prior to Submarine, every time I'd tried to write "a novel" I'd been paralysed by the expectation that I put on myself -- that a novel needed to be something grand, very literary and hugely ambitious."
"Unfortunately, Hungarian poetry doesn't translate terribly well into English -- it's very rhymey and it's all about revolution, so in English it can end up sounding like Dr. Seuss is calling for political action -- therefore I don't think I've ever gotten an accurate feel for what [my father] does. I understand that it's well-regarded, though, and he just won the Kossuth Prize, which is basically the highest cultural honor the Hungarian government gives. He does read my fiction, and always has strong opinions about it, one way or other. It's actually refreshing, in a strange way, to have a parent who doesn't love everything I write."
"It is terrifying to imagine what my life would be like now if I hadn't stumbled into my writing. Probably mad by now, seriously. I knew I wanted to try creative writing when I started my lit degree. It was a second year option at Cardiff Uni at the time, but I had no idea it was the thing I could do. The course at Cardiff, all the way through, from BA to Ph.D. was incredibly nurturing and exciting. It quite truthfully blew my life apart."