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Notes From Elsewhere: Finding our Humanity through Literature, Diversity + More | Word Riot

November 17, 2015      

Notes From Elsewhere: Finding our Humanity through Literature, Diversity + More

Hello, Rioters. It is a dark week for many parts of the world, and though this is not a news site, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Paris, Syria, Lebanon, and other countries experiencing horrible strife. Instead of a news story, a bit of history: “SS St Louis: The ship of Jewish refugees nobody wanted:”

On 13 May 1939, more than 900 Jews fled Germany aboard a luxury cruise liner, the SS St Louis. They hoped to reach Cuba and then travel to the US – but were turned away in Havana and forced to return to Europe, where more than 250 were killed by the Nazis.

You’re smart; you can draw parallels, can’t you?

Now, back to some more typically bookish links, here are some suggestions for “6 Books That Will Make You Want to Be a Better Human.” (I’ve read Chloe Caldwell‘s Legs Get Led Astray, and it’s excellent. And speaking of Chloe, she was named as a writer you need to know, over at OUT magazine.)

The Prince of los Cocuyos - Richard Blanco (cover)At NPR, poet Richard Blanco talks about the concept of ‘Home,’ and what it means to him as a Cuban-American in terms of his art.  He’s also interviewed on the podcast “Stage and Studio” about this and his memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood.

Here’s an essay by Toni Morrison: “In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.”

Have you been watching Aziz Ansari‘s Master of None? It’s really funny and smart, and in this New York Times piece, Ansari touches upon one of the themes on the show: “Acting, Race and Hollywood,” and how the Indian guy in Short Circuit 2 was not actually Indian.

Recently, Daniel José Older sat on a panel about diversity in publishing, and the subject of A Fine Dessert, a children’s book that whitewashes slavery, came up. Here’s his account of how the discussion went.

On a related note, here’s an interesting look at the history of the Hugo Awards, and the current plague of racists who tried to game the system to make the awards less diverse.

Neil Gaiman reiterates why he will not allow his American Gods creations to be whitewashed in any onscreen adaptation.

Here’s a look at literary translators, “publishing’s unsung heroes.”

Otto Frank has been posthumously named as a co-author of The Diary of Anne Frank in order for the estate to keep its copyright.

Your beloved childhood word books by Richard Scarry have changed a lot over the years.

You have a little less than a month to submit to Ashley C. Ford and Roxane Gay‘s upcoming collection, Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture.

And finally, here’s Part 2 of the conversation between President Obama and Marilynne Robinson. Fascinating stuff.

Until next time, take care of yourselves.


Notes From Elsewhere is brought to you by Sara Habein, who doesn’t pretend to be the first to know everything. 

Currently reading:

Iris by Jean Marsh (Yes, she of Upstairs, Downstairs and Willow fame. It’s her third novel.)

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