Sunday, September 28, 2008

Genius Grant for Adichie, Crystal Ball for Atwood, Porn for Proulx

Recent news of three of my favourite literary ladies.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been awarded one of this year's MacArthur Foundation's "genius grants", as its fellowships are more popularly known and receives a free annual grant of $100,000 for a five-year period. other authors who have won the award in previous years include Joseph Brodsky, Derek Walcott, Cormac McCarthy and the late David Foster Wallace

Margaret Atwood has a gift for social prophecy :
In 1984 she wrote a dystopian vision of a fundamentalist society in which women are reduced to the status of child-bearers and servants, forcibly desexualised and veiled - The Handmaid's Tale pre-empted the Taleban's misogynist regime in Afghanistan, and the rows over Islamic women's dress and rights in Europe. Another futuristic novel, Oryx and Crake, charted the destruction of the Earth by global warming, pandemics and rampant genetic engineering. It was published in 2003, before Sars, bird flu, An Inconvenient Truth, and the genome revolution.
Her latest non-fiction book is Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth - which examines :
... ideas of debt, balance and revenge in history, society and literature.
With the current finanacial turmoil in mind, Gatti asks :
So where does she keep her crystal ball?
Meanwhile Annie Proulx tells Robert J. Hughes in the Wall Street Journal [found via] that she is having problems with fans sending offering her their interpretations of the Brokeback Mountain :
There are countless people out there who think the story is open range to explore their fantasies and to correct what they see as an unbearably disappointing story. They constantly send ghastly manuscripts and pornish rewrites of the story to me, expecting me to reply with praise and applause for 'fixing' the story. They certainly don't get the message that if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it.
Proulx's latest her latest story collection Fine Just the Way It Is is her third set in Wyoming.


Anonymous said...

Lovely news about Adichie, isn't it? Another author who won the MacArthur grant (in 2006) is George Saunders, who is perhaps not as well known in the Commonwealth but should be -- he writes brilliant, scathing satire about class and consumerism. One of my favourite short stories of all time is his "Sea Oak," which you can check out here

He also recently had this hilarious, pitch-perfect piece in the New Yorker, written in the voice of a Palin supporter.

I love the grant because it recognises so many different types of innovation that would otherwise be overlooked in the "marketplace"....

-- Preeta

sri said...

I have to agree with preeta. it is indeed lovely news. Yay for Adichie