- The Seoul International Forum of Literature begins this week. Among the dignitaries attending are Kenzaburo Oe, Orhan Pamuk and Margaret Drabble.
- A local movie theatre in Australia seats just 22 people and is well in the running for the world’s smallest cinema. If I had to be an usher, I wouldn’t mind cleaning the minor mess. If I had to be a movie theatre manager, I’d welcome the easy challenge of selling out a show. But if I had to be a moviegoer here, I’d hope there was enough legroom.
- The Shusters, a new comic book award handed out to Canadians, were handed out on Saturday. There’s just one problem: it’s not too difficult to be a Canadian under the rules. Joe Matt, for example, is Canadian because he lived there for 12 years. Next thing we know, anyone who’s ever ordered spaghetti at Mrs. Vanellis will be considered one of Canada’s own.
- Carson McCullers is still being appreciated in
OhioGeorgia. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Gag removed, as idiot editor mixed up Ohio with Georgia. Thanks, Matt!]
- I’m all for free expression, but I have to ask: Video games have literary value? If there’s a metaphor in getting repeatedly fragged by a fifteen year old, I’d like to know. Better arguments, folks.
- Can a name shape a child’s destiny? Why, yes. Just ask anyone with a twenty syllable first name.
- Chinua Achebe has rejected one of Africa’s most prestigious literary awards, protesting the dangerous state of Nigeria.
- Playboy, sensing the final nail about to be hammered into its now culturally irrelevant coffin, opens the Playboy Club again after a twenty year hiatus. The venue? Las Vegas, of course.
- Susanna Clarke dares to call herself “the new black.” (Get on ‘em, Hag)
- Everybody’s favorite Birnbaum talks with Jon Lee Anderson.
- Annamarie Jagose has won the Victoria Premier Literary Award for a novel set when homosexuality was a capital offense.
- The Chronicle writes up Litquake.
- William Hill on Cloud Atlas’ chances of winning the Booker: “I have been setting the odds for the Booker for over twenty years and this book has been more hotly fancied than any other.”
- Forget Good-Franz, Bad-Franz. Rake better get hopping on the two V.S. Naipuls.
- The Seattle Times follows up with Sergio Witz Rodriquez and his infamous 21-line poem.
British libraries are failing, but there’s a plan in the works.
Now you can go home again.
Nadine Gordimer has been honored by Cuba.
And here’s my nomination for the cheesiest book of 2004: The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelings About Love, Loss, Fatherhood and Freedom. There’s even an excerpt available.
The Globe and Mail excerpts Atwood’s 2004 Kenserton Lecture. She speaks on how Orwell has influenced her and her own personal dystopia taxonomy, seen in Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake.
Updates on literary film adaptations: Colin Farrell starring in A Home at the End of the World, Kirsten Dunst as Sugar in The Crimson Petal and the White (with Curtis Hanson directing), Julianne Moore as Burroughs’ mom in Running with Scissors, and, perhaps the most apt matchup for safe-and-sane mediocrity, Ron Howard and Akiva Goldman behind The Da Vinci Code.
The Oreganian covers a local reading contest. Apparently, Sue Gatton read 482 books and 157,672 pages in one year. Unfortunately, Gatton’s too busy reading that she doesn’t have the time to summarize her thoughts on the books.
And Kurt Vonnegut’s promoting Linux!