Sexual Assault Scandal Spurs Head of Nobel Selection Committee to Resign

Written by Grace Mappes

The Swedish Academy is one of the most prestigious literary institutions in the world. Per the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will, the eighteen-member academy votes on the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in a secret ballot every year. But this year, in the wake of the #MeToo scandals, sexual assault allegations threaten to tear this centuries-old institution apart.

Continue reading “Sexual Assault Scandal Spurs Head of Nobel Selection Committee to Resign”

Historical Fiction: Do Writers Owe Accuracy to Their Readers?

Written by Grace Mappes

Whenever I think of historical fiction, a memory first comes to mind: I was raving to my then-boyfriend about the way Dan Brown manipulated and speculated upon the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene in The Da Vinci Code, fictionalizing a sexual element that made perfect sense plot-wise to my then-teenage brain (don’t worry y’all, no spoilers here). But when I had finished speaking, my devout-Catholic ex shook his head with a chuckle and asked how I could believe such a thing. Honestly, I didn’t, but his comment stuck with me years later; it made me think about how readers and writers view factual accuracy in historical fiction.

Continue reading “Historical Fiction: Do Writers Owe Accuracy to Their Readers?”

How Literature Survives in a World Addicted to Instant Gratification

Written by Grace Mappes

Thanks to technology’s swift evolution and increasing availability, many of us today literally have the world at our fingertips. With just one tap on my phone I can order a textbook, send a transatlantic text, and even tweet the President of the United States directly—all instantaneously. Corporations have fought to keep up with the demand as well; Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping has long been a hallmark of its appeal and they’ve ramped up their efforts even more with select free one-day shipping, same day shipping, and even Prime Now for two-hour delivery. Several other large retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target, have competitively followed suit. It’s safe to say that when one of these orders gets delayed for whatever reason—perhaps a long weekend or inclement weather—our patience can wear thin rather quickly. This form of instant gratification even extends to interacting with others through social media: Twitter has a 280-character limit and one doesn’t need more than a few seconds to view a Snapchat, for example.

So, what does this have to do with literature?

Continue reading “How Literature Survives in a World Addicted to Instant Gratification”

I Have a Character Stuck in My Head: How a Blog Post Inspired Me to Put Him on Paper (Again)

Written by Grace Mappes

He lingers in the back of my mind, his features and quirks coming to life on people I see in the streets. He has the disheveled hair and straightforward attitude of my American history TA and the naivety of a bright-eyed freshman girl I saw on the first day of orientation. This mysterious man, Marcavian (but he prefers Marc), is a prince who only exists in the depths of my mind and on various pieces of paper, most of which are long since destroyed. I created him about year and a half ago, inspired by an oncoming deadline and my best friend’s middle name. He is the only main character in nearly sixteen years of attempting to write fiction that has stuck with me day in and day out, begging to be written. Nearly every draft of my own fiction has gone unfinished and forgotten, just one failure among many. Nowadays I am more poet than author, but storytelling has stuck with me through the vehicle of young Prince Marcavian. One thing is certain in my mind: Marc is destined for an epic.

Continue reading “I Have a Character Stuck in My Head: How a Blog Post Inspired Me to Put Him on Paper (Again)”

Upcoming Writing Competitions

Written by Grace Mappes

Writing competitions are a great way for emerging writers to get used to deadlines, challenge themselves with new prompts, and gain exposure and prestige. Any prize money is especially beneficial for those of you who need help buying textbooks or fueling a Kerbey Lane addiction. Here are some competitions ranging in deadlines and topics for nearly any type of writer to keep their eye on. Even if you’re not eligible right now, many of these are recurring, so put them on your calendar!

Continue reading “Upcoming Writing Competitions”