weekend links: Whiting Awards, Jacob Collins, book-writing robots

Golden Age Problems
Golden Age Problems

A piece from Auto Italia's Golden Age Problems. Image detail by Olivier Castel. Image courtesy of Theo Cook/Auto Italia South East and The Guardian.

The Whiting Award winners were announced this week. Winners are chosen from the fields of fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry, and each winner receives $50,000 in recognition of their achievements. This year’s selectees include J.D. Daniels, Alice Sola Kim, Madeleine George, and Ocean Vuong, among others. Vuong has a new poem up on Buzzfeed, and his first book-length collection comes out next month via Copper Canyon Press. [The Paris Review]

Are you going to AWP next week? If so, get ready for some fun in the sun, and also check out these FAQs from The Austin Review’s Vincent Scarpa. Word to the wise: “what happens at AWP ends up in essay collections that anywhere from fifteen to twenty people will read.” [Electric Literature]

How did you feel about the covers of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels? Maybe you thought they were a little cheesy, like bad romance novels? Don’t worry, most people had that gut reaction, too. But that doesn’t make it right. After all, what does it say about the nature of taste when it leads us to criticize the feminine and motherly? [Avidly]

Confession: many of us at fields have some Neo-Luddist tendencies. So it’s not surprising that this essay on the uniquely Millennial confluence of avant-garde art, technology, and commerce made us a little anxious. Of course artists should explore how social media, the ubiquity of capitalism, etc. influence our lives. And of course artists have to make a living. But maybe it would be nice if we didn’t live in a “post-studio practice” world. [The Guardian]

On the other hand, Jacob Collins believes the twentieth century “nearly ruined art” and that “Parisian nut-job radicals” extinguished the cultural value of artists who don’t embrace the avant garde. We won’t go that far, but you do you, Jacob Collins. [City Journal]

Even James Baldwin dealt with the uncomfortable muddling of art and business. Exhibit A: this (still characteristically beautiful) 1985 essay he wrote for TV Guide. [Jezebel]

When thinking about jobs that will eventually be replaced by robots, author isn’t the first one that comes to mind. But if this Japanese literary contest is any indication, writers may have more to worry about than they thought. Then again, if Microsoft’s new Twitter-bot is any indication, maybe not. [Los Angeles Times]

—Alyssa G. Ramirez and Sean Redmond

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