Shaun Randol

Shaun Randol is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Mantle. You can email him at shaun [at] Follow him on Twitter @shaunrandol.

Shaun is the co-editor of Gambit: Newer African Writing. He is also an Associate Fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York City, and a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the PEN American Center. His personal website is


November 7, 2013

At the Situational Junta, Work was put on trial

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect at the first Situational Junta. To find some sort of footing, I mulled over potential meanings for the chosen nomenclature: situational, junta. The title of the three-part artistic venture, for me, was politically charged. My kind of event.

October 25, 2013

On September 28, I appeared once again on "Inside the Sulphurbath," this time to discuss censorship, banned books, and freedom of expression. The conversation coincided with the end of Banned Books Week in the United States.

October 17, 2013

The United States Department of Culture (USDAC) and the Associação Espaço Cultural Lanchonette (aka Lanchonete) are taking over the Bowery Poetry Club for a series of evening encounters and exchanges. The Situational Junta, as the multi-part event is called, is equal parts happy hour, radio talk show, creative mixer, and ideas incubator.

October 11, 2013

Building superintendents see all, know all. Your dirty secrets are kept hush-hush by those who pile your garbage on the street and answer 3:00 a.m. emergency calls to fix a toilet you broke because you were using it as a podium in one inspired, drunken moment.

August 13, 2013

A Short Tale of Shame (Open Letter, 2013) is the first full-length novel from Bulgarian short story writer and critic Angel Igov. Ostensibly it is the story of the damaging connections shared by aged rocker—Boril Krustev—and a tight-knit threesome of high school graduates: Sirma, Maya, and Spartacus. Really, the emotions run deeper than any past misdeed may suggest.

July 23, 2013

Context matters. A work of art cannot be judged in a vacuum. It matters, for example, that Christo and Jeanne-Claude hung their orange curtains in Central Park, New York City: "The Gates," as the show was titled, would have a different (and equally valid and powerful) effect had those orange banners been strung across the Great Wall of China or the Sonoran Desert.

July 10, 2013

An interconnected world demands that we collaborate in the public sphere. Indeed, without this cooperation the public sphere would not exist, for it requires not just an action, but also a reaction. The speech is not a speech until it is heard. The rally is not a rally unless it is seen. The map is not a key until it is read. To exist, the public sphere requires a necessary but beautiful tension between all of us, all of us collaborators.

June 19, 2013

Since he left office in January 2009, former president George W. Bush has kept a low profile. Once a swaggering politician, Bush has adopted the life of a reclusive artist, spending as much as three hours every day painting. Lacking formal training, Bush is an outsider artist whose work recalls that of David Hockney and Edward Hopper. But does his work reveal inner turmoil?

June 18, 2013

Three Femen activists were sentenced to four months in jail for a topless protest in Tunisia. The action was held in support of fellow jailed activist Amina Tyler.