The Readers: Ismail Muhammad and Encounters with Ghosts

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Muhammad’s criticism is far-reaching, pulling together literature, politics, and religion in a quest to reckon with the black experience in modern America.

The Mother of All Fears

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This week, I reread Alexandra Kleeman’s short story “Choking Victim”. I had first read it when it was published in The New Yorker in May 2016, when I was spending most of my days at home with a mysterious newborn.

A Lot of Sorrow, A Lot of Faith

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I round a dark alcove in the Reykjavík Art Museum to find twenty or so people gathered in a space the size of a hip basement venue. Before them is a screen on which The National plays.

Reading in a Time of Disruption

Writer and literary critic Sergio Pitol makes the claim that “[w]orks of art express . . . the best energy humans are capable of producing.” For Flannery O’Connor, literature is a particular human achievement.

Thomas Hardy’s Rule-Breaking Heroines

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Hardy humanizes his heroines' ambitions, the intensity of their feelings, their fancies and passions. In both Bathsheba Everdene and Tess Durbeyfield, Hardy writes intelligent women who work hard and write their own rulebooks.

Round–Up: MacArthur Fellows, California Wildfires, and Joni Mitchell

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From writers with "genius grants" to a new biography of Joni Mitchell, we've collected the latest literary news.

When Scientists Study Novels

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The point is to understand that what constitutes “literary” versus “genre” fiction—an age-old topic of study and debate within literary circles—is fundamental, not ancillary, to scientific findings on the effects of reading novels.

“The Woman in Me is Thousands of Years Old:” An Interview with Zeina Hashem Beck

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Zeina Hashem Beck’s new poetry collection, Louder than Hearts, takes the idea of brokenness—of fragmented languages and lands—and weaves together whole worlds rich in the musicality and beauty of the Arab world.

Pictures of You: Understanding Life Through Memoirs

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The need to figure out why we are who we are is what drew me to Elissa Altman’s memoir Treyf, a bittersweet and touching memoir of the author’s growing up years in 1970s New York City and Queens.

Expecting the Fish of Anguish: For the Love of the Non Sequitur

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Perhaps in times like these, when the work of making sense of the world around us gets harder, we need poetry that points toward that difficulty—and that makes that work worthwhile.