[NOTE: There’s unfortunately too much truth in this report to ignore. One implication is left unaddressed: it points to the increasing importance of independent publishing (typified but not limited to Amazon), OUTSIDE the increasingly hidebound and oppressive “legacy” publishing industry. PS. This report, alas, applies as well to much of Quaker publishing.]
WHETHER THERE EXISTS in American culture a left-wing illiberalism that threatens freedom of thought and expression under the cover of social justice has been a subject of heated debate in the past decade. At a time when right-wing authoritarian populism is on the rise, many people have viewed warnings about illiberal progressivism as a distraction.
“If I were a debut writer, I wouldn’t have dared to write this book,” Rebecca F Kuang says from her home in Boston. Then again, she wouldn’t have been able to. Her new thriller, Yellowface, could only have been written by an author familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the publishing industry: its petty politics, its bad faith, its best intentions gone hilariously awry. Continue reading “Is it good?” An Asian-American Writer Stands Up for Imaginative Freedom→
Thomas Hamm was the subject of many tributes and high praise at Earlham College this month, as he retired from more than three decades as a professor of Quaker history and director of the school’s noted archives, built around an extensive Quaker collection.
I was among those who gathered during the weekend of May 19-20 at the Earlham School of Religion, for “Quakerrama,” an extended hybrid tribute to his scholarship at the Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana.
James Campbell’s ‘NB by J.C.’ brings together the columns of an incendiary cultural critic. . . .
By Michael Dirda – May 12, 2023
Even before catching up with the latest scholarly kerfuffle in the Letters column, readers of Britain’s Times Literary Supplement turn first to its last page. There, one can find a weekly feature somewhat enigmatically titled NB, the Latin abbreviation for “nota bene,” which could be translated as “pay close attention.”
Washington Post — Opinion by Kathleen Parker — May 12, 2023
“Fiction is where I go to tell the truth,” the late, great Pat Conroy once said. In his acclaimed novels, Conroy cut close to the bone, exposing human truths that left readers breathless with painful recognition.
Lucky for him and his readers, Conroy’s death in 2016 meant he was spared the pre-publication censorship that fiction writers face today. He escaped the full force of the steamrolling appropriation-and-sensitivity movement currently in vogue.
“Publish or perish” in this new age of you-can’t-say-that has been retooled as publish and perish. Certain words are essentially verboten — “plantation,” for one. But at the heart of the new restrictions is the notion that novelists can’t (or shouldn’t) write in the voice of someone whose experience and heart they cannot know. Continue reading More On Limiting What Authors Can Write About→