Review

Soniah Kamal

Perhaps surprisingly, Qanta Ahmed’s religious and familial background does not adequately prepare her for a two-year stint as a doctor in Saudi Arabia. Thus, Ahmed’s memoir is less a fish-out-of-water story, and more like a fish-in-unfamiliar-water tale. Soniah Kamal reviews Ahmed’s mystified encounters of classicism, colorism, and sexism in The Kingdom.

Shaun Randol

When we get a whiff of inauthenticity, we are made aware of just what we expect from nonfiction. So says award-winning author Jonathan Weiner. He sat on a panel alongside the thoughtful and amusing Amitava Kumar and Carmela Ciuraru. Brooklyn Book Festival's panel, Unreliable Subjects, focused on the complexity of dealing with subjects (that is, people) who are inherently unreliable.

Vicente Garcia Groyon

In a 2010 roundtable discussion here at the Mantle, I wrote about the responsibilities of a writer in a time or place of conflict. While my opinions on the subject continue to inform my writing and the creative decisions I make, two encounters with nonfiction writing classes during the 2011 Writers in Motion study tour of America occasion a coda of sorts.

Vicente Garcia Groyon

I made my way to my aisle seat in a row of three and groaned inwardly. The center seat, which had been empty when I checked online the night before, was now occupied by a tall young man, stocky enough to necessitate raising the armrest that separated my space from his. I reassured myself that this wasn’t going to be a problem—this was the short leg of my trip, from DC to Minneapolis, from which there would be a long haul to Tokyo before the final push to Manila. I could handle a few crowded hours.

Vicente Garcia Groyon

When I first received the invitation to participate in Writers in Motion 2011, a project of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in another IWP undertaking.

Antony Adolf

What does culture, and contestations of it, have to do with ethnic conflicts? They are, to be short, inextricable. In Cultural Contestations in Ethnic Conflict, Marc Howard Ross examines the intersection between culture and ethnic conflict in nine "hot spots" around the world and identifies culture as either an inhibitor or a catalyst for the escalation of violence. In his review, Antony Adolf says Ross' work sets a nice foundation for future studies.

Shaun Randol

On the closing day of PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, I had front row seats to listen to two giants of the literary world, Harold Bloom and Wole Soyinka. Both events took place in the exquisite Beaux-Arts Celeste Bartos Forum at that temple of the book, the New York Public Library.

Shaun Randol

Editor's note: The following is Morris Dickstein's opening remarks given at the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature panel, "The Next Decade in Book Culture." You can read my write-up of the event here. You can learn more about Morris Dickstein and his critical and historical writings here. My sincere gratitude for sharing this text with The Mantle. Enjoy!

Shaun Randol

Day three of PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. Event number four for me, at a fourth location. One of the joys of this weeklong event is discovering new and unusual places. So far I’ve been in the sexy Standard Hotel, the very cool Chelsea Lighthouse, an old gymnasium in Little Italy, and now the charming Greenwich House Music School—all new to me. Looking ahead, I’m scheduled to cover six more events in six more locations.

Rob Grace

War—what is it good for? Writing. The same can't necessarily be said of war's opposite, peace. Antony Adolf seeks to correct a largely overlooked historical phenomenon—that of peace and peaceful coexistence amongst humanity. Rob Grace reviews this ambitious attempt at setting the record straight.

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