On Novels and Novelists

On Novels and Novelists

Harvey Weinstein Promises His ‘War And Peace’ Miniseries Isn’t Homework

Oscar-winning film producer Harvey Weinstein may be best-known for producing movies like Pulp Fiction, The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love. But the indie film mogul has also been busy producing TV. His latest project is a version of War and Peace, a co-production with the BBC and Lifetime.

The miniseries — which airs simultaneously on A+E, Lifetime and History — is an updated retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s classic Russian novel. And it’s a passion project for Weinstein.

I haven’t been able to watch this yet. By the time I started looking for it, I had already missed the first two episodes. If you’ve seen it, let us know what you think in the comments.

Also, if you know where I can see this from the beginning, please let me know.

Forget the Caucuses: The Politics of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Don’t tell Donald Trump, but he’s about to leave a site of conspiracy, government cover-up, and covert funneling of federal money. Even worse, it has to do with literature. Iowa, you see, where Mr. Trump just lost the Republican caucuses to Ted Cruz, is home not just of arguably the most important presidential predictor in the country, but the most important masters program in creative writing. For more than eighty years, the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa has produced and employed some of the nation’s most celebrated writers, including Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver, John Irving, TC Boyle, Michael Cunningham, Ethan Canin, Marilynne Robinson, and Ann Patchett. It also, for a time in the 1960s, was partially funded by the CIA.

If you doubt the relationship between literature, politics, and government, you must read this. It will make your skin crawl.

10 Best Books Set in the American West

Western writer Callan Wink discusses novels set in the Western U.S.:

When I think of the literature of the American West one hallmark of the genre, as I see it, is the way characters are forced to deal with a powerful, often hostile, landscape. In many cases this basic struggle is what drives the narrative or allows the characters to fully realize themselves. It seems like a simple thing—human response to environment. However, the particular realities of this environment—existing as it does, often largely separate from the trappings of humanity—is at the very core of what separates a Western from a New York novel.

See why he chooses these novels, which present “something elemental—the narrative of survival most basic,” as the best:

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Winter in the Blood by James Welch
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Michael Ondaatje
Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison
Desert Dolitaire by Edward Abbey
The Son) by Philipp Meyer
Cowboys and East Indians
by Nina McConigley
Rock Springs by Richard Ford
Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson
Close Range by Annie Proulx

This Author Wrote A Beautiful Handwritten Note To Herself As Inspiration

The Huntington Library in Los Angeles, where the papers of Octavia E. Butler reside, is preparing a series of events in honor of the 10th anniversary of Butler’s death.

See here the note of encouragement Butler wrote to herself.

Legendary Children’s Author Celebrates Her 100th Birthday In the Best Way Possible

In honor of Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday in 2016, the beloved children’s author re-released three of her most beloved books. The celebration doesn’t stop there. Three of her famous admirers have added their own special touches to the volumes as the world celebrates the author’s influence on children’s literature.