Perhaps the biggest talking point this week in the literary world has come from the Brisbane Writers’ Festival, where keynote speaker Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk about Kevin) caused an outcry by decrying the importance of ‘safe spaces’ and, most notably, the concept of cultural appropriation. In Shriver’s speech, she stated that such ideas stifled creative expression and the ability of writers to empathise with others – she notes how writers are no longer allowed to don ‘other people’s hats’ as this is now considered a ‘form of theft’. However, critics of her speech are maddened by Shriver’s dismissive diminishment of the struggle against cultural appropriation, and her seeming ignorance of the big issue at the heart of the matter: racism, and the silencing of minority voices.
In other book news:
Edward Albee, the American dramatist responsible for some of the twentieth century’s most important plays, died last week at the age of 88. He was most famous for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1962, and was immortalized on screen by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as the barbed-tongued married couple Martha and George.
This weekend Cardiff underwent a transformation in honour of Roald Dahl’s centenary. A street festival featuring thousands of performers was held to celebrate the writer’s life.
— Roald Dahl HQ (@roald_dahl) September 18, 2016
More news emerged this week for the upcoming film adaptation of children’s fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time. Thirteen-year-old American actress Storm Reid will play the protagonist Meg Murry, who, with her younger brother and a friend in tow, ventures on a quest through space and time to locate her missing father.
Matthew Weiner, the acclaimed creator of hit television show Mad Men, will be publishing his debut novel in late 2017, titled Heather, the Totality. The story follows multiple characters who each in some way control or manipulate a girl, the eponymous Heather.