Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The politics of fiction + Reading and Race

3 recommended links:
1) TEDTalk video podcast: "The politics of fiction" by Eli Shafak
2) The Millions ethnicity essay by Edan Lepucki
3) Best of Web 2010 article in the Chicago Tribune

1) TEDTalks video podcast: Elif Shafak on the politics of fiction
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Elif Shafak was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1971. She is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read woman writer in Turkey. From the podcast:
"We tend to form clusters based on similarity, and then we produce stereotypes about other clusters of people. In my opinion, one way of transcending these cultural ghettos is through the art of storytelling. Stories cannot demolish frontiers, but they can punch holes in our mental walls. And through those holes, we can get a glimpse of the other, and sometimes even like what we see."

Just as her books, her speech receives biased comments, from "Stunningly and gently radical :)" to "Slow down, woman." A transcript of Elif Shafak' speech is online at bakikuleyi.livejournal: Elif Shafak: The politics of fiction

related books / categories in Daily s-Press
- International Short Fiction (World Literature Today)
- Zahra's Paradise(international graphic web novel)
- daily bookshelf: international

2) The Millions ethnicity essay: Reading and Race: On Slavery in Fiction
The Millions is an online magazine offering coverage on books, arts, and culture since 2003. Recently, Edan Lepucki reflects on the books she read about African-Americans, and on fiction / non-fiction books about ethnicity:
"Reading narrative requires empathy. The character’s perspective becomes your own, and through this relationship you begin to feel as another person would. As I read Roots, I felt what Kunta Kinte felt, saw what he saw, and by becoming him, I understood intimately the horrors of slavery. It’s why nonfiction slave narratives, like those of Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass, were so important to the abolitionist movement, and why fictional slave narratives persist today.
But stories also require complicity: the reader participates in the action of the story simply by imagining and interpreting it. As Zadie Smith points out in this short interview:
"Fiction is like a hypothetical area in which to act. That’s what Aristotle thought—that fictional narrative was a place to imagine what you would do in this, that, or the other situation. I believe that, and it’s what I love most about fiction
related books / categories in Daily s-Press
- Had Slaves by Catherine Sasanov
- How to Escape from a Leper Colony by Tiphanie Yanique
- daily bookshelf: gender + race

3) Chicago Tribune article: "Best of the Web 2010" edited by Kathy Fish and Matt Bell
From the book section of the Chicago Tribune:
"Reading, poetry and prose written for the Web calls for a different kind of writing than one might find on the printed page and this annual volume is a terrific reminder of great possibilities and experiments in style and form." - Elizabeth Taylor, Literary Editor Chicago Tribune

related books / categories in Daily s-Press
- Best of the Web 2010 (Dzanc, edited by K. Fish + M. Bell)
- daily bookshelf: indie + small prize winners / best of anthologies


  1. I just love Ted talks! And, interestingly enough, I just finished one of zadie smiths novels :)

  2. I simply adore Ted speaks! As well as, oddly enough sufficient, I simply completed among zadie smiths books.

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