Binyavanga Wainaina

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“I want to live a life of free imagination.” In this video, Binyavanga Wainaina describes his dream for Africans to tell their own stories and be set free of certain traditional systems and structures. The Kenyan author and gay rights activist, who won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002, died at the age of forty-eight on May 21, 2019. For more from his work, read an excerpt from his memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place (Graywolf Press, 2011).

Julie Otsuka on Her National Book Award Nomination

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The author of The Buddha in the Attic, who was profiled by Renée H. Shea in the September/October 2011 issue, talks about her novel's nomination for this year's National Book Award in fiction. "I feel lucky to even have an audience," she says. "A prize is something I never really thought about. Usually my concerns are very local, like 'Can I make it through this sentence or through this paragraph?'"

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A Discovery of Witches

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A Discovery of Witches (Viking, 2011), the first novel in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls historical fantasy trilogy, has been adapted into a television miniseries. The eight-part series stars Edward Bluemel, Gregg Chillin, Matthew Goode, Teresa Palmer, and follows the story of a history scholar witch, a geneticist vampire, and a long-lost alchemical manuscript.

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We the Animals

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“Look at us growing up. Who will we be?” We the Animals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), Justin Torres’s debut novel, has been adapted into a film directed and cowritten by Jeremiah Zagar. Starring Raúl Castillo, Sheila Vand, and Evan Rosado, the film follows Jonah, growing up with his brothers and escaping into a fantasy world to cope with his volatile home life.

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Justin Torres

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The official pub date for Justin Torres’s We the Animals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is September 1, but already the debut novel is racking up superlatives typically reserved for more established authors. Michael Cunningham calls it “heartbreaking” and “beautiful.” Paul Harding calls it “an indelible and essential work of art.” And Benjamin Percy, in the current issue of Esquire, calls it “a knock to the head that will leave your mouth agape.”

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The Sisters Brothers

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The Sisters Brothers (Ecco, 2011), Patrick deWitt’s Booker-nominated picaresque western novel about two assassin brothers during the California Gold Rush, has been adapted into a feature film. Directed by Jacques Audiard, the film stars Riz Ahmed, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rutger Hauer, Carol Kane, Joaquin Phoenix, and John C. Reilly.

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Luljeta Lleshanaku

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Luljeta Lleshanaku reads from her collection Haywire: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2011) in English translation and in the original Albanian, and talks about how history, politics, and religion have informed her writing. Lleshanaku’s new collection, Negative Space (New Directions, 2018), translated from the Albanian by Ani Gjika, is featured in Page One in the May/June issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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