Labels, Acts, Awards

Carriage Return, 8/29/16

Helen Frankenthaler, Tutti-Fruitti (1966)

Carriage Return is The Ribbon’s (more or less) weekly round-up of useful links from around the literary web. A reset for your week, tabs to open, and perhaps some context for your next book browsing visit, wherever you are.


Last weekend N.K. Jemisin’s novel The Fifth Season won the Hugo award. “A couple of days later, Ms. Jemisin’s publicist told her that she was the first black writer to win a Hugo for best novel,” writes Alexandra Atler in The New York times. “Other black authors have won in other categories, including Octavia Butler and Samuel R. Delany, who were honored for short fiction but never for best novel.” In an interview with Atler, Jemisin talks about what the award means to her, and more.

Literati bookseller Kelsey is currently “flying through” the novel, and shares her thoughts with Carriage Return:

Jemisin’s use of the apocalyptic setting to explore oppression is brilliant. Her world-building is masterful, but most importantly for me as a reader, I care deeply for her characters and their places in the world in which they live. Jemisin felt that this was a difficult novel to write — “given the uncomfortable parallels to persistent racial injustice in the real world” — but I feel that her contribution to the world of sci-fi and fantasy was so worth her efforts.

This week Brazos Bookstore Marketing Manager Benjamin Rybeck asked himself “Who Am I: Writer or Bookseller?” :

I work at a bookstore, and I wrote a book: The Sadness. I see who buys it. Sometimes people order it online, and as a bookseller, it is my job to pick up the phone and call those people when the book arrives. But as an author, what’s my job? I don’t know.

The author-bookseller/bookseller-author untangles a particular cognitive dissonance for LitHub, and in so doing delivers a vital appreciation of the book-slinging trade.


Poet Lisa Russ Spaar revisits the second collections of poetry from Helen Zell Writers’ Program alum Rachel Richardson and faculty member Linda Gregerson.

The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep is an important and beautiful book, which bears reading and rereading in its entirety. It represents what one hopes for in a second collection — a deepened assurance, a farther reach, and a grappling with eternal truths, particularly about the vulnerability of children and nature’s imperviousness to the human will.

More on “worlds invading words, words creating worlds” for both poets, at The Los Angeles Review of Books.

The program’s Zell Visiting Writers Series begins September 15th with John Freeman & Valeria Luiselli. Rachel Richardson reads on November 3rd with Donovan Hohn.


Oh, and another Helen Zell Writers’ Program alum, Jesmyn Ward, was interviewed by NPR’s Audie Cornish about her work editing The Fire This Time, Literati’s September book club pick.