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After 32 years and “some 1,500 dispatches from the frontiers of language,” the New York Times column “On Language” is shuttting down.

On the High Line in New York, Salman Rushdie talks about the history and evolution of the PEN World Voices Festival he began seven years ago, and what we can expect from this year’s week-long celebration.

Over at The Millions, Nell Boeschenstein recalls the superiority of the Pilot Precise V5 Extra Fine and traces the vanishing “physicality of the writing process.”

“Among the sauciest pen pals of the era” This Recording provides an intimate look at Flannery O’Connor and her influences through her letters to Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, and others.

In response to news of the Borders bankruptcy, Green Apple bookstore in San Francisco lays out a blueprint for how the indie bookstore can remain healthy and viable.

Translators Edith Grossman and Steve Dolph read at the first installment of The Bridge, the first independent reading and discussion series in New York dedicated to literary translation.

John Barber of The Globe and Mail discovers a surge in e-book lending, while finding little evidence of piracy.


The first ticketed events for the 2011 PEN World Voices Festival are now on sale. Highlights include a special night of readings by Salman Rushdie, Malcolm Gladwell, and many others; programs on WikiLeaks and the revolutions in the Middle East; and a conversation between Vladimir Sorokin and Keith Gessen.

At the Paper Cuts blog of The New York Times, Sam Tanenhaus writes that poetry—particularly lyric poetry—is uniquely suited to describing and documenting catastrophe; like catastrophe, it defies rational order, yet “it consoles, even as it alarms.”

“I suffer from heightism. I’m sure you’re familiar with that.” PEN is launching a series of literary challenges on its Facebook page. Post a short response for a chance to win a free Associate PEN Membership, books, tickets to PEN events, and other great prizes. 

A study on the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act shows that despite the considerable time, money, and resources devoted to the task, there is “no evidence that NCLB improved student achievement in reading.”

Deborah Eisenberg wins the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her book of collected short stories. Listen to Eisenberg reading Robert Walser in the latest PEN Podcast and also catch her at the opening night event of the PEN World Voices Festival on April 25 at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers.


Here is a list of things you can do to celebrate Banned Books Week, which kicks off today.

Salman Rushdie joins Twitter (@SalmanRushdie), goes to the mattresses with an imposter. Order is restored in the land.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals again refuses to toss out a suit brought by PEN American Center, the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and other organizations against the FISA Amendments Act permitting warrantless wiretapping by the NSA. The case could soon proceed in federal court. 

Ray Bradbury, The Woman Warrior, and CSIfive literary lectures you can watch in bed, when you should be in class.

Detained opposition leaders in Iran spark a run on Gabriel García Márquez’s 1996 novel News of a Kidnapping.

When art becomes dangerous: Sala Udin talks with Amiri Baraka about Civil Rights, the Black Arts Movement, and Obama’s struggle (or lack thereof).

Fan of minimalist writing apps like Ommwriter and iA writerQuietWrite takes it to the cloud.