Here’s a couple of articles I found thought provoking. The first, by Roxane Gay, examines the “Best of…” lists that have become such a part of what establishes literary “excellence.” Gay makes a compelling case regarding their legitimacy and usefulness.
The second is by Benjamin Hale, a writer who I was at Bread Loaf with, though never really got to know. Mostly I saw him across the barn, or at the salad bar. But his essay from Fortnight is edgy and though I have some issues (at times) with his tone in this piece, which tackles issues of authenticity and diversity, he’s a talented writer and shedding light on a question that I relate to whether I like it or not: do middle class white guys have anything to say in their writing? A (mostly) closeted fear of mine has been that I’ve lived far too good and steady a life to offer anything significant to the literary sphere. Perhaps this comes from actual insecurity about a serious issue, or perhaps it’s more a response to cultural mythology, much of which proves to be majorly suspect when you really start looking.
Enough out of me. Read.