Image: North Korean women work at the cashier table of a bookstore in Pyongyang, North Korea. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

A guest post by Meredith Shaw 

With colorful rhetoric about dotards and nuclear buttons, North Korean propaganda is attracting attention around the world.

Outside observers can now easily access some of this propaganda by visiting regime-sponsored websites. These have, in turn, spawned foreign feeds like the excellent KCNA Watch media aggregator and satirical sites such as “Kim Jong Un Looking at Things.”

However, there’s another side to North Korean political messaging, one directed at the domestic population.

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How Kazuo Ishiguro's Writing Won Him the Nobel Prize in Literature – According to Research

Image: Kazuo Ishiguro in 2017. EPA Images

A guest post by Sara Whiteley

Kazuo Ishiguro has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and, as a long-term scholar and fan of Ishiguro, I feel compelled to join the celebration. The Swedish academy aptly described Ishiguro’s works as possessing “great emotional force” which “uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”. But in an interview posted on the Nobel Prize website, Ishiguro offered a narrower statement of his interest in wordly connections, saying:

One of the things that’s interested me always is how we live in small worlds and big worlds at the same time: that we have a personal arena in which we have to try and find fulfilment and love, but that inevitably intersects with a larger world, where politics, or even dystopian universes, can prevail. So I think I’ve always been interested in that. We live in small worlds and big worlds at the same time and we can’t … forget one or the other.

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Image 20170405 6699 1g0z6np

Vladimir and Vera Nabokov in 1969.
Giuseppe Pino, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

A post by Camilla Nelson

It started when an American academic noticed how frequently the acknowledgements sections of weighty academic tomes featured a male author thanking his nameless wife for typing. The Conversation

The academic, Bruce Holsigner, began sharing the screenshots on Twitter under the hashtag #ThanksforTyping.

And the response was stupendous. As the screenshots flooded in, a veritable army of unpaid women suddenly became visible. Not only were they typing, and retyping, but translating and editing and – um – doing the actual research.

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Who Is Your Boo Radley? Finding Characters Who Motivate You To Write

A guest post by Patti Frazee

We all have, within our memories, a treasure trove of characters. Maybe it was that quirky childhood friend or the mysterious neighbors next door. Perhaps it was that mean old lady down the hill or that big brother who (almost) always tried to protect you. Or maybe it was that strong, kind father who guided you through life’s hardest lessons. Sound familiar? These are all beloved characters in Harper Lee’s classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

It’s always gratifying to delve into your own treasure trove to discover those characters who speak to you. Many characters in To Kill a Mockingbird were people from Harper Lee’s life. Her childhood friend Truman Capote was the template for Dill Harris. Her father was the backbone of Atticus Finch. How can you go into your memory and find those “characters” who motivate you to write? Maybe no one seems as memorable of Boo Radley or Dill Harris, or maybe you simply have to take a closer look.

Examine intensely those characters who speak to you, as Harper Lee did: “Dill was a curiosity. He wore blue linen shorts that buttoned to his shirt, his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duckfluff; he was a year my senior but I towered over him… his laugh was sudden and happy; he habitually pulled at a cowlick in the center of his forehead.” Imagine if Harper Lee had ended this description at “Dill was a curiosity.” She doesn’t make us discern what she means; she shows us that he was a curiosity. She makes him curious to us by showing him through appearance, sounds, and habits.

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