Literature

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"I always have a notebook with me, I eavesdrop, I write down what people say. It's very rare that one of those things will provoke a story, but I think that that kind of paying attention all the time, and keeping everything open, lets the stories come in. But where they come from is still...
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There’s no shortage of data outlining the benefits of reading for children. In the NEA’s own 2007 report, To Read or Not to Read , research suggested that reading proficiency was associated with higher test scores, and later, with higher-paying jobs, greater career growth, and higher...
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In the late 1990s, Kate DiCamillo was working in the children’s section of a book warehouse, earning $4.80 an hour. The job gave her insight into the children’s publishing process: perhaps 5,000 copies of a book would sell, and the rest would be liquidated to free up warehouse shelves...
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"I am suspicious of narratives that employ the 'journey of becoming' rhetoric. Perhaps some people live their lives with the intentionality and purpose of a medieval knight; not I. I don't journey. I stumble passionately. Often, I stumble passionately toward art and creative...
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School is back in session. For you Big Readers out there, the end of summer means the return of our Big Read-focused blog posts. Hooray! Ok. Now for some Housekeeping . (Anyone? That's a sly Big Read reference and this author's favorite Big Read novel). For anyone who missed the...
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" I’m not convinced that the questions that have been raised for me by the writing I love the most could be answered by the authors themselves." -- Eula Biss Eula Biss , a 2012 NEA Literature Fellow , is so much more than a writer. Perhaps calling her a modern-day Cassandra comes...
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"Short fiction is like low relief. And if your story has no humor in it, then you're trying to look at something in the pitch dark. With the light of humor, it throws what you're writing into relief so that you can actually see it. Otherwise it's just a dark room, and what you'...
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Amid the sit-ins, marches, and protests of the Civil Rights movement, Ezra Jack Keats played a quieter role, choosing to be an activist on the page rather than in the streets. In 1962, he published The Snowy Day , the first full-color picture book to feature a black child as its protagonist...
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"People sometimes think of translation as a kind of intellectual subservience, a master-slave relationship; they imagine that the translator subjugates his or her own creative impulses to the demands of the original text in what must be an act of drudgery and submission. But they don't...
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What is literary translation and why does it matter? The answer to the latter part of that sentence is simple: empathy. As NEA Chairman Jane Chu writes in her preface to the NEA's new publication, The Art of Empathy: Celebrating Literature in Translation , "translation fosters [a] sense of...
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