“Make no mistake: if you run a prize, a “best of” list, a residency, with age guidelines you can’t fully justify then, however otherwise diverse your awardees, you and your organisation are consolidating racism, sexism, class and gender discrimination.” Joanna Walsh for The Guardian arguing that, by focusing on youth, literary awards and honors tend to reward “those most likely to have money, security, contacts, confidence.” See also our Post-40 Bloomers series, including interviews most recently with Lidia Yuknavitch and Cole Lavalais.
A few weeks ago, our own Nick Moran wrote about the closing of Maxwell’s, a Hoboken landmark that doubles as a restaurant and concert space. Now, at The Paris Review Daily, Josh Lieberman goes to the venue’s last Feelies concert, pointing out that “in no way is Maxwell’s an ideal place to see a show, except that it is.”
Who invented ska music? John Jeremiah Sullivan traces the history of the genre in his latest essay for The Oxford American. "The more the claims for Rosco Gordon’s supremacy as a ska progenitor seem not out of proportion, and the less crazy it feels to say that, in a sense, ska was born in Tennessee." Pair with: Sullivan's essay on Bunny Wailer, who makes a cameo in his ska essay.
A German cow named Yvonne escaped her impending trip to a slaughterhouse and soon became a national icon. In the wake of public outcry, officials have called off the search for her. Elsewhere, Lydia Davis is probably regretting that this story broke after she published her bovine chapbook The Cows.
Actor and humorist Nick Offerman at "By The Book" on choosing George Saunders to write his hypothetical life story: "I think [Saunders] would embarrass me by telling the justifiable truth, but with such élan that I would have to shrug and say, 'It was worth it.' If anybody could pull it off, I believe Mr. Saunders would have the tools and talent necessary to render the woodshop traumas of sandpaper and spokeshave, the roller coaster dynamics of a character actor’s life in showbiz, and my relentless penchant for filling a room with noxious gases into a palatable narrative. George — if you’re reading this and you’re up for it — before you dive in, I would just like to say that I think you’re very handsome."
Jonathan Raban intersperses biographical information about William Gaddis in order to give the correspondence collected in his recently published Letters greater context. There are ample details about the author’s travels in his young adulthood, his artistic frustrations over the publication of The Recognitions, and, of course, many details about the women in Gaddis’s life. “In letters to his mother,” Raban writes, “Gaddis liked to depict himself as someone repeatedly smitten by beautiful women.” (Bonus: “The Letters of William Gaddis contains five letters addressed to me.”