French prize nomination for Year of Fog

L’annee brouillard, the French translation of The Year of Fog (translated by Sophie Aslanides), is featured this month in the French edition of Elle Magazine as the November selection of the Elle Grand Prix des Lectrices. Read the jurors’ comments here. Read the Elle review here.

Thanks so much to the editors at Elle as well as the jurors, my publisher Buchet Chastel, and my wonderful translator, Sophie Aslanides.

“A novel of unbearable suspense … This book is not read, it is consumed, it permeates.” Regina Lepage
“A gem of originality.” Martine Madoux
“The book exerts a kind of magnetic force that propels the reader forward.” Regina Simon

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Ben Fong-Torres on the Grateful Dead (+ Pat Sajak, + Elvis)

My friend Ben Fong-Torres will be at the Booksmith on Haight Street tonight at 7:30, talking about his new book, Grateful Dead Scrapbook: The Long, Strange Trip in Stories, Photos, and Memorabilia.

Also, read a terrific blog post here for Asian Connections in which Ben talks about Telling My Story, sparring with Pat Sajak, his early experiments in governance at Westlake Junior High, and more.

Kevin and I had dinner with Ben and Dianne a few nights ago at Flour & Water, where we learned that Ben recently took part in a television show for which he played the role of Asian Elvis Impersonator. I saw the photo of him in full-on Elvis garb, hair and all, which I plan to share with you here, just as soon as I can hunt it down online. He said he had his own trailer with his name on the door. I want a trailer with my name on the door. I mean, I did live in a trailer once, way back when in a field in Mississippi, and I suppose my family’s name was on the mailbox, but that hardly counts, now, does it?

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Goodbye, with love, John Hughes

molly ringwald in sixteen candles
I just heard the news that John Hughes has died. For those of us who came of age in the eighties, his name means more than the movies. It brings back a whole slew of memories: names of boys and girls we knew, and places they took us, and the things we did and didn’t do.

It was Sven Delaney’s mother who drove, I remember that clearly. This was 1984, a hot Saturday in Mobile, Alabama, and Sven and his mother picked me up in a station wagon, one of those long sleek numbers with wood paneling and little silver ashtrays filled with secret cigarette butts. I was thirteen years old, and it was officially my first date.

Late in the afternoon, Mrs. Delaney dropped me and Sven off at the East entrance to Springdale Mall, with instructions to meet her in that exact location in exactly two and a half hours. I wore a slouch top that my mother had made, with a purple plastic necklace I’d ordered from the Esprit catalogue. I have no idea what Sven wore. It did not matter. I loved him, which meant of course that I did not truly see him. He was tall and blonde and had an interesting name, and that was enough for me. (more…)

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Readings for Writers

The Kenyon Review has just published a new anthology of work culled from the magazine over the past seventy years. Editor David Lynn writes:

Readings for Writers is a very different creature from your usual anthology…A different principle of selection comes into play: choosing stories, poems, and essays from across the decades to provoke lively responses from writers today, to inspire and challenge…the selections here are intended to inspire active response—pen to paper, fingers to keyboard.”

All in all, it looks like a terrific volume for teachers of writing, not to mention anyone who is engaged in the practice of writing short stories, essays, and poems. Contributions are arranged chronologically, beginning with Randall Jarrell, Allen Tate, and Dylan Thomas–all published in the magazine’s first year, 1939–and ending with Cara Blue Adams, whose essay appeared in 2009. Along the way areworks by the likes of Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Pynchon, Sylvia Plath, Nadine Gordimer, V.S. Naipul, Don DeLillo, Robert Haas, Annie Dillard, Billy Collins, Virgil Suarez, Czeslaw Milosz, Pablo Neruda, W.S. Merwin, and many others–82 selections in all.

I was browsing the contents page when, quite by surprise, I came upon “A Life in Pods,” an essay of mine which appeared in the magazine in 2008. I’m thrilled to be included in such amazing company, and can’t wait to get my copy and dig in.

You can order the issue here.

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