Great writers in surprising venues

When Philip Gourevitch led a book club discussion of Standard Operating Procedure over at Talking Points Memo, I was impressed by his inclusion of the novelist Robert Stone and the poet and essayist Mary Karr among the contributors.

Now there's another TPM Book Club with a literary bent: Joseph O'Neill discussing his new book Netherland with novelist and critic Dale Peck, novelist and radio impresario Kurt Andersen, UT Austin professor Mia Carter, and Will Buckley of The Guardian.

And yesterday I pleasantly surprised to discover Aleksandar Hemon on the op-ed page of the Sunday New York Times and Doris Lessing in the Times Magazine. Here's Hemon on a terrifying 1991 speech by the recently arrested Radovan Karadzic:
Watching the news broadcast covering the session, neither my parents nor I could initially comprehend what he meant by “annihilation.” For a moment or two we groped for a milder, less terrifying interpretation — perhaps he meant “historical irrelevance”? For what he was saying was well outside the scope of our middling imagination, well beyond the habits of normalcy we desperately clung to as war loomed over our irrelevant lives.
And here's Lessing discussing lighter matters (the response to her Nobel by Harold Bloom) with Deborah Solomon:
When you won the Nobel Prize in Literature last year, he described the choice as “pure political correctness,” presumably because you are female.

Yes, I remember. It was a very malicious thing. If he gets the Nobel Prize, believe me, I won’t be as bitchy.
(PEN America 9, by the way, will include Hemon's conversation with Rabih Alameddine from the most recent World Voices festival-- along with new new fiction by Anya Ulinich, Joshua Furst, Yousef Al-Mohaimeed, Young-ha Kim, and others; new poetry by Kimiko Hahn, Wayne Koestenbaum, Fady Joudah, and others; and more. Stay tuned.)

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