Carousel #10

  1. I read this really great essay by Benjamin Hale that addresses the real value of literary prizes and what literature lives on years and years later. Basically, there is mediocre literature winning tons of awards that everyone forgets quickly and there is literature that is typically very polarizing and is usually recognized long after the writer has passed. Would you prefer to win awards while you’re alive or to be remembered long after you’re dead?
  2. A sixteen-year-old girl by the name of Tavi Gevinson has started an online magazine for other teenage girls. It’s not the vapid stuff you see in other typical teenage magazines – it’s real stories about what it’s like growing up. It’s well-written, relevant, and often funny. She’s been on TED, she’s been invited to fashion shows in New York. I was talking to Melissa about this, and we were wondering when teenagers were this cool. Rock on, Tavi. You will go far.
  3. Here are poems being recited in voicemails. Among them, Zadie Smith contributes “Animals” by Frank O’Hara.
  4. Fiona Apple is one of my favorite singers of all-time, and her newest album is finally going to be released this month. Here’s an excellent recent profile of her.
  5. I was a guest writer for ReadLearnWrite again. This time, I wrote a piece about relating to characters outside of your own realm of experience and why that’s important to being a good reader.


  1. Tavi started out as a fashion blogger (which is why all the fashion show invites), it's nice to see her branching out into other things!

    1. I was telling my sister about her because of some Betsey Johnson piece. She's jealous.

      1. i dunno if you've been her to her actual blog:

        1. I have not. For a teenager, her life must be quite hectic! Congrats to her for finding some early success in doing what she loves.

  2. This made me happy, this whole post.
    And I have thought about popularity as a writer while living for the longest time and I am glad you've acknowledged it here. I think it is more important to have work with a message. I don't think a lot of the modern books being written today will really make an impact. Maybe that is just me hating in modernity, but I really haven't read anything that has affected me deeply in a long while. I think I'd rather have my work last into the future, rather than win a whole bunch of prizes.

    What about you?

    1. Same here, Angela. I mean…Nabokov never won any major prizes during his lifetime (nominated for some, but never won anything big that I know of), yet he's still recognized as one of the most influential writers today. So who cares, really!

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