Literature

Vicente Garcia Groyon

GASPP: A Gay Anthology of Singapore Poetry and Prose (2010) comes with a breath of the sensational, from its title to its cheeky cover, exploiting the contradiction of a celebration of homosexual culture in staid Singapore.

World Policy Journal

by Franz-Stefan Gady 

Emmanuel Iduma

To start with, I do not disagree that there is so much writing coming out of Africa. But I make the claim that we only see this abundance in terms of creative expression, because there has never been a time, like now, where we have had this amount of visibility. Of course, visibility is an important consideration – just as it is important to have an ear if the radio is to become useful, it is important to have the capability to be seen if African literature is to be considered meaningful.

Emmanuel Iduma

What is a book? Once we could proffer answers with the clearest certainty. Today, it is difficult to do so. In this vein, I am keen to explore what can be termed the “fragility of meaning,” under which heading I can rightly argue that a book is now without precise definition, and has formed the subject of a contested terrain. It is a fashionable contest, which in this decade will probably remain unending.

Corinne Goldenberg

The Help (2011) has been kicked off the number one slot at the box office. Finally. I thought it would never end. The buzz over The Help has been spreading, having made over $140 million and growing as I type these words. Everyone seems surprised about the success of the film, directed by Tate Taylor and adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel of the same name. Not only am I surprised, but appalled as well.

Ather Zia

Recently a news item in the Times of India announced that a literary festival would be held in Kashmir. I find something deeply unsettling about the way this piece has been written (or how the news has been evolving ever since). Not to mention, the audacity of the idea of a literary festival in a place where deep constraints on freedom of speech and life exist.

Shaun Randol

John Williams’ Stoner is the story of the academic’s worst nightmare. One should suspect as much, though, for on the very first page the author sketches the life of one William Stoner, a professor of literature at the University of Missouri in the first half of the twentieth century. Despite 38 years of teaching, Stoner never rose above the rank of assistant professor. He was, apparently, an unremarkable man—few students could recall him, even after they had just taken his class:

Cæmeron Crain

In 2008, writer-philosopher David Foster Wallace took his own life. In his wake, he left the makings of a second epic novel. The pile of notes and chapters (finished and unfinished) were published as The Pale King. The writer Sandro Veronesi likened reading this novel to glimpsing the foot of a "huge statue, of an immense monument to boredom." Cæmeron Crain reviews the enigmatic author and his last novel. 

Shaun Randol

Ludvík Vaculík’s novel The Guinea Pigs is charming and unsettling at the same time. From the outset, Vaculík disarms the reader by treating the tale as if it were being read to us by a parent at bedtime. “Our family,” the protagonist tells us, “is originally from the country.

Vicente Garcia Groyon

Most writers sidestep the problem of the audience, the reader, by saying that they write first for themselves, the things they would want to read. Problem solved. However, the matter is compounded by the needs of the publishing industry, which today (or since its inception?) tends to, has to, view the book as a product that it must sell. This involves identifying a target market and producing books that the target market will spend its money on.

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