Let’s start with a video of an aluminum foil elephant: Winky/Blinky, from Anna Joy Springer’s The Vicious Red Relic, Love. Described as “a haunting marvel of contemporary queer literature”, as well as “an act and product borne of great, imperfect love” that “will live perfectly inside you forever,”Vicious is truly one of the best books I’ve ever read. If you haven’t already, please read it. In the meantime, watch Winky; he is coming, as Anna Joy Springer so eloquently put it, to “[pry] open your shriveled ass heart”.
From there, let’s move on to a contest: the ILP International Literature Award. Co-facilitated by Dzanc Books and the CNC International Disquiet Literary Program, the contest seeks to speak back to Nobel award judge Horace Engdahl’s remonstrations against American authors as being “insular and ignorant”. Judged by The Intuitionist author Colson Whitehead, the award seeks work of any genre that “broadens the landscape of North American literature outside of the borders of North America”. The winner receives airfare, accommodations, and tuition to the Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal this July, as well as publication in Guernica Magazine. $15 entry fee, deadlineJanuary 31st, 2012
Speaking of Guernica Magazine, Guernica hosted a Writers Bloc event this January 17th. Funded by the SOROS Foundation, Writers Bloc is a “a collective of celebrated and up-and-coming writers” who are “attempting to broaden the discussion of justice in education”. The writers,
including Chimamanda Adiche, Aleksander Hemon, Tahmima Anam, Petina Guppah, Nathalie Handal, Rachel Holmes, Nick Laird, Kamila Shamsie, Hardeep Sing Kholi, and Zukisa Wanner, were sent to ten different countries to write– subjectively, personally, and passionately–about universal education, with the intent of speaking towards connection and change where professional policy, news, and charity language fails. Zadie Smith introduced the first round of essays in an Guernica article titled “Mind the Gap”; she describes the “rejuvenating force of this ‘nonprofessional’ language, and the clarity a well-constructed narrative can bring to even the most complicated national histories and labyrinthine government interventions.” Writers Bloc author Kamila Shamsie described her experiences in a recent Guardian article, “Why send 10 writers to a country of their choice and tell them to write something related to education?”
A quick leap from justice to love (if only it were usually this simple): Bodies of Work and From the Inside Out editor Morty Diamond’s new book, Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary was released October 2011. Many authors, including Julia Serano, Max Wolf Valerio,2011 LLF Fellow Cooper Lee Bombardier, and Sassafras Lowrey, read from their essays here. Trans/Love was recently reviewed by Richard Labonte here.
Finally, we jump from love to a “Wonderful Asshole”: check out Benjamin Shapiro’s Vice article on Gary Indiana to find out whose assholes, if any, he feels inclined to “grease up”.
Ta-ta for now!
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