Viet Thanh Nguyen: In praise of doubt and uselessness

'Ignorance can sometimes — not always, but sometimes — be as beneficial as knowledge. Ignorance is beneficial when we are aware of it.'   Source: Los Angeles Times Author: Viet Thanh Nguyen Almost exactly 20 years ago, I arrived in Los Angeles in the month of June. I had received my doctorate from UC Berkeley…Read more Viet Thanh Nguyen: In praise of doubt and uselessness

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Will Self: Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories?

An interesting article, printed recently in The Guardian, on literary evolution by poet and writer, Will Self. A few years ago I gave a lecture in Oxford that was reprinted in the Guardian under the heading: “The novel is dead (this time it’s for real)”. In it I argued that the novel was losing its…Read more Will Self: Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories?

The Sellout wins 2016 Man Booker Prize

The Sellout is a searing satire on race relations in contemporary America. The Sellout by Paul Beatty is named winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The Sellout is published by small independent publisher Oneworld, who had their first win in 2015 with Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings. The 54-year-old…Read more The Sellout wins 2016 Man Booker Prize

World’s Oldest Continuously Operating Library Begins a New Chapter

Established in 859 CE, Morocco’s al-Qarawiyyin Library will soon reopen to the public with architectural details for the 21st century.   Home to stacks of ancient Islamic manuscripts and intricately decorated reading rooms, the world’s oldest continuously operating library will soon reopen — and, for the first time since its founding in 859 CE, to the public.…Read more World’s Oldest Continuously Operating Library Begins a New Chapter

Gather no Moss

There have been a whole lot of column inches wasted on Bob Dylan receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature. But, to paraphrase another great bard, William Shakespeare, it is a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Of course, Dylan has his champions and his detractors. What great artist doesn't? But…Read more Gather no Moss

Trumpet’s Downfall, part 1

part 3 of The Rise & Fall of Donald Trumpet Esq. Jack Connell had everything stacked against him; an Irish born Romany migrant worker, married to Consuela, a Spanish Romany woman. He worked for Trumpet Fisheries and eked a miserable life out of digging razor fish and clams from the shallow salt marshes on the…Read more Trumpet’s Downfall, part 1

Trumpet’s Triumph, Part I, a Dickensian tale

Part 1 of The Rise & Fall of Donald Trumpet Esq. Picture credit: nymag.com After posting a story yesterday,,  reblogged from The Literary Hub, about the origins of some of those names so beloved of Victorian English writer, Charles Dickens, it occurred to me that Donald Trump would've made an ideal Dickensian moniker. So I…Read more Trumpet’s Triumph, Part I, a Dickensian tale