Obama in China & other links

As you may have heard, Barack Obama has addressed the matter of press freedom on his visit to China. PEN American Center has been calling for Obama to speak up for free expression on this visit (see the letter signed by PEN president K. Anthony Appiah). It appears that Obama’s comments are being censored from Chinese news reports.

A “leading” member of president Nicolas Sarkozy’s party in France, one Éric Raoult, is arguing that the latest winner of the Prix Goncourt, the nation’s highest literary prize, should “be censured and asked to recant” for comments she made back in August about “the climate of heavy policing and surveillance [under Sarkozy].” Marie Ndiaye won the Goncourt for Trois femmes puissantes (Three Powerful Women), and she is the first black woman to win the award.

Colum McCann’s novel Let the Great World Spin, excerpted in PEN America 10: Fear Itself, is up for the National Book Award this week, and it also tops Amazon’s “Best of 2009” (via The Millions).

Back around Halloween, Gigantic talked with Brian Evenson about horror movies. (Evenson’s brilliant and eerie story “Windeye” appears in PEN America 11: Make Believe and is also available on the PEN website.)

Lastly, The Rumpus has several good literary pieces up:
a long interview with Paul Auster, whose latest novel, Invisible, was deemed his finest ever by Clancy Martin in The New York Times Book Review

excerpts from a piece by Sigrid Nunez on Susan Sontag (who said, “I saw the best writers of my generation destroyed by teaching,” Nunez recalls) that was recently published in Tin House (read Nunez's story "Rapture Children" in our new issue)

and a tribute to An African in Greenland by Terese Svoboda (“I understand my curiosity about sex but why do I adore reading about bad food?” she asks), whose lovely contribution to our “Make Believe” forum is up on the PEN website, along with a bunch of other interesting responses (post your own!)

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