Two American journalists who were arrested on March 17, presumably at the border between North Korea and China, have been tried and sentenced to twelve years hard labor, North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, recently announced. The state agency accused the women, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, of “illegal border crossing” and described their punishment as “reform through labor.”
The Burmese poet Saw Wai was sentenced on Monday to two years in prison for writing a love poem that contains a hidden criticism of the Burmese dictator General Than Shwe.
For Ethan Canin, writing has never been easy—or, for that matter, pleasurable. Despite the sprawling achievement of America America, his newest novel might just be his last.
Can political fiction matter? Stephen Elliott, the editor of Politically Inspired, an anthology published by MacAdam/Cage in 2003, and its follow-up, Stumbling and Raging: More Politically Inspired Fiction, published by MacAdam/Cage this month, casts his vote in the “definitely yes” column.
Citizen journalists, often blogging in real time, have forced an expansion of creative nonfiction by influencing public opinion on important issues such as the presidential campaign.
While it's safe to say the twenty-first century has so far not been a great time for American diplomacy, a handful of new poetry anthologies, from Norton, Dalkey Archive Press, North Atlantic Books, and Graywolf Press, offer proof that American poetic diplomacy might be entering a new golden age.
In the cyclone-ravaged country of Myanmar, where citizens face censorship and repression, contributor Stephen Morison Jr. speaks with authors who, despite the country's Orwellian police state, refuse to be intimidated and continue to write.
Near the end of a recent interview for the New York Times Magazine, president Barack Obama briefly mentioned that he was reading Joseph O’Neill’s PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novel Netherland (Pantheon, 2008). The interview made no mention of whether the president was enjoying the book, just that he was reading it. But from the mouth of the popular president, that was enough.
Helon Habila read novels as a boy to shelter himself from the brutal reality of his country’s political instability. Now, the author of Waiting for an Angel believes his generation of Nigerian novelists should help change that reality.