Links: There’s a Fire

What does it take to make a debut novel successful? The Austin American-Statesman has a tick-tock on John Pipkin‘s Woodsburner, from writing to editing to publication to indie-bookstore hit.

James Salter looks back on his career.

Robert Olen Butler has written nine screenplays in the past twelve years, but not one of them has been produced. In completely unrelated news, Olen’s new novel is titled Hell.

Audio, video, and transcripts from PEN America’s recent “Reckoning With Torture” event are now online. Among the speakers were Nell Freudenberger, Don DeLillo, George Saunders, Jonathan Ames, and Paul Auster.

Don’t tell Auster his strategy of using nested stories makes him some kind of postmodernist: “There were certain kinds of books I was attracted to as a young person, two jump to mind. Wuthering Heights and The Scarlet Letter. These fascinated me. You know full well these are fictions within fictions. The act of telling becomes part of the story.”

Poets & Writers has a list of the top creative writing MFA programs in the country.

Ben Greenman is a better speller than many of his peers.

And maybe it’s mean to make fun of Gore Vidal, but he does have a way of saying things that make such behavior understandable.

5 responses to “Links: There’s a Fire

  1. Other than the bizarre and repugnant comments on the Polanski case, I enjoyed the Vidal interview. If nothing else, he has interesting thoughts and a colorful way of speaking them.

    • Yeah, I was mainly thinking about the Polanski comments in particular—it’s a fine line between “amusing crankcase” and “nutjob.” I wish there was a photo of him in that Simpsons jacket.

  2. And then there’s Auster’s defence of Polanski….how does that square? Defending a 42 yr old who drugged and raped a 13 yr old.

    • I don’t know what to make of that except to be disappointed in him. It’s strange, since his new novel in some ways is about the emotional wages of abusive sexual relationships; I’d expected Auster to take a more clearheaded and understanding stance, not sign on to defend Polanski.

  3. Based on what I was told by a writer who spent some time around Polanski several years ago, the director is so convincing and charming in person that one could be easily persuaded that wrongs had been done to him. I would venture that most of the petition-signers have at least some positive acquaintance-ship with Polanski, whereas the vast majority of dissenters don’t have personal experience to compensate for the facts and the documents now available in the public record.

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