The Transformation

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“It wasn’t fair that fish could see color, / and whales could not, but I was okay: I loved my new body. / I don’t know what kind of whale I was. In the ocean / there were no mirrors.” Emily Jungmin Yoon’s poem “The Transformation,” which appears in her debut collection, A Cruelty Special to Our Species (Ecco, 2018), has been adapted into a Motionpoems film directed by Malin Sandberg. 

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Call Me American

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“The book clearly describes the horror, the conflict, the chaos, the death, the trauma that came from the war, and then after that, the invisible dream that I started pursuing.” Abdi Nor Iftin, author of the debut memoir, Call Me American (Knopf, 2018), talks about growing up during the civil war in Somalia and what the American dream means to him.

Alexander Chee on His Writing Process

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“I like questions, my imagination likes them too.” In this A Word on Word series video, Alexander Chee speaks about his essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Mariner Books, 2018), and his writing process which involves engaging in conversation with his fictional characters.

Gay Boys and the Bridges Who Love Them

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“It is not what drove your body here like a stolen car. / why you abandoned it on this unreasonable ledge....” This Button Poetry video features sam sax’s poem “Gay Boys & the Bridges Who Love Them” from his second collection, Bury It (Wesleyan University Press, 2018), and is directed by Seth Moore and Cole Smothers with choreography by Matthew Bovee and Sarah Adam.

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Vita & Virginia

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Vita & Virginia is a film adaptation of Eileen Atkins’s 1992 play of the same name, based on love letters Virginia Woolf exchanged over the course of a decade-long affair with Vita Sackville-West, the inspiration behind Woolf’s 1928 novel, Orlando: A Biography. Directed by Chanya Button, the biopic stars Gemma Arterton as West, Elizabeth Debicki as Woolf, and Isabella Rossellini as Baroness Sackville.

Duy Doan

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Beautifulwonderful, amazingfantastic: three-syllable hyperbole when playing the coquette. / Lovely, little, lastly likely: two-syllable hyperbole when listing features to describe the coquette.” Duy Doan reads “Love Trinkets” from his debut poetry collection, We Play a Game (Yale University Press, 2018), for which he won the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry.

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2019 Man Booker International Prize: Celestial Bodies

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“The extraordinary thing about this book is it talks of a world in transition—philosophically, politically, intellectually, socially—and that is the age that we live in now.” Bettany Hughes, chair of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, and fellow judges speak about Celestial Bodies (Sandstone Press, 2018) written by Jokha Alharthi and translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Booth, which won this year’s award. Alharthi is the first female Omani novelist to be translated into English, and the first author from the Arabian Gulf to win the prize.

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