Literature – River And Sound Review Wed, 02 Jun 2021 12:15:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Literature – River And Sound Review 32 32 Ronnie Screwvala to Share Life Lessons in New Book Wed, 02 Jun 2021 12:10:09 +0000

Film producer Ronnie Screwvala will share stories, failures and personal learnings from his career in his new book, aiming to draw the curtain on the professional world to give an insider’s perspective on sought-after ‘invisible’ skills. recognized by global companies, top recruiters and top CEOs.

Skill It, Kill It: Struggles, Sacrifices, and Success in Your Life and Career, published by Penguin Random House, is slated for release in July.
Screwvala says it’s not a self-help book. “The aim of this book is to lift the veil on the professional world to give you a glimpse of the ‘invisible’ skills sought and rewarded by global companies, top recruiters and top CEOs. The way I have chosen to do this is to share stories, failures and personal learnings from my career and what I have observed around me.

Before writing the book, he says he interviewed and spoke in focus groups with nearly 1,000 active professionals across the country, and the big questions and concerns that arose were related to the need for vocational guidance, help with general skills, priority management. and the weather better, and the need for inspiration.

He says he tried to cover all of this and more in the book.

“We are on the verge of a drastic shift in the workforce that will bring unprecedented changes in career paths. Every job, every role will require a change. Change will require new learning. Sales jobs will no longer be about giving presentations or pitching but understanding data, lead generation and conversions, marketing will not be about sending mature messages, but knowing where to find first your elusive customer then to communicate with the maximum clutter around them, ”he writes.

Complementing professional expertise with stronger soft skills is where one can shine above the crowd, he thinks.

“Developing and refining your soft skills will put you in the fast lane and allow you to stand out from the crowd, gain confidence and move forward. The skills will give you extra power beyond your degree and area of ​​knowledge (which everyone already has access to), ”he says.

In the book, Screwvala introduces readers to real people who have learned life skills on their own. The point is: if they can do it, so can you.
The author gives insights, wisdom, tips and secrets on soft skills that will keep you strong, confident, and on a path of steady growth, no matter the headwinds of global change.

“The reason why it is so crucial to acquire soft skills is that they are your best protection against the blinding speed and ferocity of change that industries and global markets will experience in the 2020s and 2030s. The answer appropriate to change is never fear, but preparation and focus.

“If you constantly improve your knowledge and skills through lifelong learning, you will be relevant, forward-thinking and on top of the latest advancements in your industry and specialization. It puts you in a solid career position, ”he says.

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Subsequent lines of therapy increase humanistic and economic burden of CML Wed, 02 Jun 2021 00:50:10 +0000

After first-line treatment has failed, patients may receive an increased dose of the same TKI, switch to another TKI, switch to interferon or chemotherapy, or to have a stem cell transplant.

Researchers performed a literature review to understand the humanistic and economic burden in patients with CML receiving different lines of ITK. They noted that “there is an unmet need for new treatments for heavily pretreated CML-CP patients.”

They searched for literature published from 2001 to July 2020 that included humanistic and economic data for adult patients with CML. A total of 1601 records were identified, but ultimately only 33 publications were included in the review. Eleven were journal articles and 22 were conference abstracts.

Most studies assessed humanistic burden: 23 reported on HRQL and 5 reported on symptom burden. “Physical function and emotional function were the most severely affected quality of life areas in most studies,” the authors reported.

One study found that 58% of patients treated with first- or second-line TKIs had mild quality of life alterations, 11% moderate alterations and 31% severe alterations. The most frequently reported symptoms were fatigue, musculoskeletal pain and sleep disturbances. One of the studies reported 19 symptoms associated with CML.

Ten studies reported data on costs and 5 on resource use. The main contributors to the increased costs associated with treatment failure in subsequent treatment lines were inpatient services, emergency department visits, outpatient care, and laboratory tests.

“Total costs per month increased dramatically for patients who switched from first-line treatment to second-line treatment,” the researchers wrote.

According to one study, for patients who failed first-line treatment, the average cost in 2012 US dollars was $ 78,677, which rose to $ 99,624 for patients who failed second-line treatment and $ 181,029 for patients whose third-line treatment has failed.

Patients who switched to subsequent lines of treatment had more emergency room, hospital and outpatient visits than patients who remained on the initial line of TKI treatment.

“Overall resource use was higher for patients who failed 2 lines of therapy compared to those who failed 1 line of therapy,” the authors wrote.


Negi H, Agrawal R, Vieira J, Ryan J, Thakur D, Viana R. Humanistic and economic burden in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia – a review of the literature. Presented at: Virtual ISPOR 2021; May 17-20, 2021. Poster PCN231.

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“ A feminist in my own way ”: Romanian writer Magda Cârneci on her novel FEM – the Calvert Journal Tue, 01 Jun 2021 11:55:44 +0000

Magda Cârneci was established as one of Romania’s most prominent poets when she published her first novel, FEM, in 2011. The book was a radical departure from her earlier writing, as well as the literary tradition in which she works. FEMThe approach to the status of women – direct, complex and sometimes metaphysical – also represented a clear break with the Romanian literary scene dominated by men. A decade later, a new English translation by Sean Cotter brings Cârneci’s unique approach to feminism to a global audience.

FEM takes the form of a long letter or a monologue, written by a woman (or “feminine creature”, as Cârneci explained to me) to a lover she plans to leave. The narrator, “Everyday Scheherazade,” recounts an eclectic mix of her life experiences, addressing both her lover and, it seems, herself. Her memories bounce between autobiographical details tinged with nostalgia and ruminations on gender, sexuality, aging and communication. Behind these memories hides a mystical, and sometimes metaphysical, approach to the female self.

Feminism arrived late in Romania, explains Cârneci, because of the nationalist and patriarchal character of its communist regime, as well as its censorship. For the writer, this means that she discovers the movement quite late in life, in her fifties. “In the 90s, I started down the same path as the most ardent Romanian feminists, Laura Grunberg and Mihaela Miroiu,” Cârneci recalls, “but then I followed a different career path, and although I supported them, I was not on the ideological front lines, fighting for women’s rights. Perhaps because of her own high standards for what a feminist should be and do, she now calls herself a ‘passive’ feminist, ‘feminist in my own way’.

When FEM first appeared in Romania, the mainstream literature largely ignored the female experience. “The condition of the female body and these ideas related to female ontology did not appear in Romanian literature at the time,” Cârneci says. The decision to focus so strongly on the female body by FEM, then, was a struggle for Cârneci, a struggle that was shaped by her experience abroad. When Cârneci moved to France in the 1990s, she discovered the writings of French feminists such as Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous and Luce Irigaray. She found herself drawn to these philosophers’ questioning of the gendered nature of communication and perception. Through these French feminists, Cârneci found a framework for understanding each other, as well as a language for writing about women. “I was reading about feminist psychoanalysis at the time, and it provided me with some kind of nourishment,” Cârneci says. The imprint of this feminist ideology is visible everywhere FEM, which Cârneci began to write when he was the director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris.

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Gašper Kralj wins the Cankar Prize for the best original Slovenian literature of the past year Mon, 31 May 2021 14:27:04 +0000

STA, May 31, 2021 – Gašper Kralj, a 47-year-old writer and translator, has won the Cankar Prize for best original literature published in the past year. He was awarded for his novel Škrbine (Stubs), a “story of unwritten stories”.

The hero of the novel sets out to write a story about his grandmother, of which there are hardly any traces in the archives of the institutions where she worked.

He records bits and pieces of his life and that of his grandmother on pieces of paper, bits that are read by a woman who tries to edit them into a possible story.

The award jury said the novel is a “compelling soul-searching” about the limits and possibilities of putting into words pieces of life that cannot be converted into a completed story.

The Cankar Prize of 5,000 euros, a tribute to the writer Ivan Cankar (1876-1918), is awarded each year to the best original literary work of the past year, published as an individual book in the Slovenian language.

The award-winning work may be from any area of ​​Cankar’s creative opus (a collection of poetry, a novel, a drama, a collection of short stories or essays).

It was established in 2019 by the Slovenian PEN, the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), the SAZU Research Center and the University of Ljubljana.

The first recipient, declared last year, was Sebastijan Pregl for the novel V Elvisovi Sobi (In Elvis’s Room), a novel about a generation that grew up as the former Yugoslavia slowly disintegrated.

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Celebrate Pride Month with a New Series of Virtual Authors | Characteristics Sun, 30 May 2021 18:00:00 +0000

Eight award-winning and groundbreaking authors representing both literary excellence and LGBTQ pride will speak about literature and life at Augusta University’s College of Education this summer.

Registration is now open for the Pride Month Authors’ Series, hosted by the Augusta University Writing Project.

The series is a continuation of the AU Writing Project’s one-year author series, which hosted 21 authors on campus.

Dr Rebecca G. Harper, Director of the AU writing project, said expanding a series of authors to focus on storytelling from an LGBTQ perspective is crucial in helping to complete the cultural narrative.

“LGBTQ + authors and titles are often overlooked or under-represented in classroom instruction and in some libraries. It is important to ensure that teachers are aware of the wide range of award-winning titles and authors that address LGBTQ + themes and individuals, ”said Harper.

A lack of inclusive storytelling means that it can be more difficult for students to connect with reading and literature. It can also send the message that their experiences don’t matter.

“Students should be able to see themselves in the literature they read in class. When these voices are not represented, their voices are silenced, ”Harper said. “Their stories matter because the students matter.

“It also represents an opportunity for those working in literature and education to engage with authors in a way that creates class bridges,” added Harper.

The author series is free, virtual and open to the public in order to make these authors and their works more accessible. All sessions start at 7 p.m. Registration is now open online at

The virtual link will be emailed to attendees prior to each event.

The series will begin on June 1 with an appearance by Lesléa Newman, author of the pioneering children’s book “Heather Has Two Mommies”. Other authors include Bill Koningsberg, Lev Rosen, Meredith Russo, Mark Oshiro, Chris Beam, Alex Gino, and Susan Kuklin.

“Each of these authors was chosen not only because of their literary success, but also because of the unique perspectives they can offer and their commitment to the LGBTQ + community,” said Harper.

Pride Month Authors’ Series Calendar

June 1: Lesléa Newman.

June 7: Bill Konigsberg.

June 9: Lev Rosen.

June 14: Meredith Russo.

June 16: Mark Oshiro.

June 21st: Cris Beam.

23 june: Alex Gino.

June 28: Susan Kuklin.

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my love of literature during lockdown Sun, 30 May 2021 08:04:47 +0000

Tony mortimer

4 min read

I want to use my newfound love of literature during lockdown to inspire young boys to read.

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action, at least that’s what they say. There I was, like the rest of us, thrown in the middle of a pandemic. So what to do? I know, I’m going to read a novel and force myself to finish it, I thought.

What’s the problem you might ask? Well, I had never read a novel before I can remember, which may sound absurd.

In fact, I never thought it was weird until I told people about it and found out that I was pretty lonely in this little feat. I mean, I read books, yeah, a lot of them, but a real novel? Surely not. I couldn’t think of anything more boring.

Often I saw people on vacation – do you remember that? Their heads got stuck in a thick novel, wasting their time. Go into the sea, I think, watching a drive that for me lacked relaxation.

How tiring it must be to be read, rather than enjoying life, not realizing that they were probably so wrapped up in their book that they were themselves escaping to another world and enjoy it every minute. A world where they could become so attached to a character or a setting that they could aspire to the moment they could find themselves. Overwhelmed, not by the desire to dive into a shared sea or pool, but back in a world exactly where they left off. Taken aboard a literary locomotive to a faraway land, perhaps more exotic than the one they found themselves in.

And then I picked up my first novel: Secrets of the Greek Revival, a ghostly and mysterious reading. I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I finished it and was totally hooked from that point on.

These worlds between the ink-laden lines came as a huge relief

In the past, I was oblivious to what I was missing and always preferred the cinema. The good thing about a novel versus a movie is that a novel gives you most of the picture but not all of it, leaving you to invent the rest with your own imagination.

The downside is that the vast array of worlds are way more than we could ever hope to visit, more characters and storylines than we could ever discover. Not in a single lifetime.

Novels have helped me immensely during this pandemic, providing escape and a host of other mental benefits such as relaxation. All at a time when travel and socializing have never been so limited. Agatha Christie’s And then there was none; Flower girls by Alice Clark Platts; The best werewolf short stories 1800-1849 by Andrew Barger; The fear bubble by Ant Middleton. Oscar Wilde Complete short stories; JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; Lady waiting by Anne Glenconner; Stephen king’s On writing.

These worlds between the ink-laden lines were a huge relief. In fact, I fell in love with novels so much that I finished my first draft of my own book. It was inspired both by my grandson and by an article I read that talked about how many boys are seen in bookstores, but sadly many are leaving empty-handed. It seems they just can’t find something to suit them. Perhaps there is a shortage of books for young male readers? So I hope to write one they like. Something exciting, adventurous. Something that can take them away from their world, if only for a short time.

So if life is chaotic or stressful, you could do a lot worse than immerse yourself in a distant sci-fi galaxy or a country village mystery. There is something for every taste; I only wish I had found out long before I did.

As it came out of the chaos that was and still is this pandemic, perhaps it is appropriate to sign with these words from Sun Tzu: “In the midst of chaos comes an opportunity.”

Tony Mortimer is a former member of the boy band East 17 and award-winning songwriter Ivor Novello.

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a study of the sea in Irish literature Sat, 29 May 2021 13:00:00 +0000

For James Joyce, it was “the snot sea, the sea which constricts the scrotum”. For others, it’s the great brackish depth, or Davy Jones’ trap. In Greek, it is the thalassa from which the study of the seas derives: thalassography. Joyce envisioned writing a novel about the sea when she died: its imponderable deaths, its limitless possibilities and its eventful life. What a loss for literature. His great sea novel, which he never succeeded in writing, exists as a great void in the center of it would have been.

For John McGahern, the Irish were first and foremost a forest people. Judging by the many examples from the literature illustrated by Nicholas Allen in Irish Literature and the Coast: Seatangled, we are first and foremost a people of the sea. And not just for migratory reasons, but because the sea permeates our lives. and dominate our dreams.

The sea is a major theme in literature and on the world stage there have been many excellent performers: Hermann Melville and Joseph Conrad to name just two behemoths. And how does Ireland manage to represent the sea?

Fairly good, according to Allen, who is a professor of humanities at the University of Georgia. In fact, the pulse of the tides is in our blood.

The sea is many things, including a means of transport, and the impact of migration, inward and outward, on Irish society has been transformative since ancient times, but especially during the two hundred last years. Not all influence was inclusive, and as Allen points out, Belfast poet John Hewitt looked beyond his place for empathy – in Wales, Scotland and New England.

In Anna Liffey, the poet Eavan Boland shows an aspiration for inclusion using hydro-symbolism. “The city where I was born / The river that crosses it. / The nation that divides me.” Allen wants to reshape the discourse of our literary heritage as “a grammar of liquidity as a cultural resource and in part a reclamation of a submerged network of ports, estuaries, rivers and streams”. He finds affinities in writers and artists – Synge’s observations of the Aran Islands, as well as Harry Clarke’s stained glass windows whose often amorphous whirlpools were inspired by Inisheer’s seaweed and jellyfish. It’s a great argument and the more you read it the more it makes sense.

The title keyword comes from a stroll along Stephen Daedalus’ beach in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as he reflects on his sense of identity. In a city made of docks, estuaries and headlands, where the kingdom of sea and land meet, it gives her a sense of longing beyond the shores for new ideas and possibilities.

One of the transcendent examples of aquatic things in Irish literature is the poem by William Butler Yeats set on an island in Lough Gill, Co Sligo. He prompted novelist Robert Louis Stevenson to write to the poet about his “slavery to the beauty” of “Innisfree Lake Island”. The poem was inspired by Yeats’ observation of raindrops on a window in a London street. Allen argues that the poem was intimately linked to what critics call “hydrocolonialism.” In this case, the expansion of the British maritime empire.

In a close examination of Yeats’ first maritime novel, John Sherman, he finds that “imagery of water and sea is central to exploring his character’s ambitions, rivers and seas are testing. constant for the characters not knowing where to anchor their ambitions. ” Yeats’s family’s ties to the shipping industry in Sligo provided him with a rich seascape and a vocabulary in which he conceptualized Ireland’s place in the British Empire.

One of the most famous Irish maritime novels is Erskine Childers’ Enigma of the Sands published in 1903. Here Allen finds that the novel drew a picture of the empire as the coastline and the shallows “such as decreases the security of Britain as a nation of defined borders ”. This in turn could only propel Ireland into the rough waters of self-determination. And he argues that the fight for the sea helped shape the argument for Irish sovereignty. Childers, of course, would later bring substantial amounts of weapons to the Howth Volunteers, Co Dublin to help them fight for freedom.

Allen clearly reveled in this nomenclature: to watermark, anchor and swirl his ideas with deep textual plumbing.

It is a trope illustrated by the cork poet Eiléan Ní Chulleanáin whose poems are “immersed in the river, the sea and the water”. Allen shows a feat in determining why an inventory of objects along the coastline helps to anchor the narrator’s memory.

“Along the wandering strand the sea unloads glass balls / jellyfish, broken shells, its entanglement / nets, cork, scraps of wood, coral / a twisted line paid on sand / Here is evidence, Put it all together… ”Poet ‘Breeches Buoy’, for Allen, lays layers of meaning indistinguishable from the coast. For the critic, Ní Chulleanáin in “The Sun-fish” has no equal in contemporary Irish poetry for the brilliance of the “last turn of a poem … deeply informed by multiple traditions, notably maritime” .

In a chapter titled “Atlantic Drift,” Allen carries his assessment at high tide with contemporary Kevin Barry. He finds the Limerickman drawn to the coastal margins where his characters discover that “the boundaries between innocence and experience are fragmenting and shifting.”

This is especially true of the collection of short stories “Dark Lies the Island” where a tragic lyricism seems to overwhelm the protagonists: a pathetic error created by murky time.

“In Beatlebone”, Barry is at full speed with his maritime engagement. Dorinish Island in Clew Bay, John Lennon, where hippie chef Sid Rawle established a hippie commune, is the home of the author’s fictional dream, talking seals, and all you’ve got yourself.

A young woman’s meditation on the stage here is emblematic of Allen’s thesis: “She gazed into the darkness of Clew Bay and the little islands that pay in the dark. The cloudbank moved a fraction and the light fell from the quarter moon and picked up a single island, a low, oblong shape, and it was lit for a while.

The notion of alienation appears in the memoirs of Hugo Hamilton Speckled People where Hamilton, of Irish and German origin, finds himself in search of an identity. “The extended province of the sea and its creatures is the only area of ​​freedom imaginable for the young narrator,” writes Allen.

He contrasts Hamilton’s weightless conclusion with John Banville’s “melancholy fret” of “The Sea”. The title was interpreted as a metaphor for the mourning of the main protagonist Max over the death of his wife Anna from cancer: sometimes calm, sometimes angry. Allen suggests that the novel can be seen as a fluidity of character and place over time. Banville’s writing on the sea here, and in other of his novels, is exceptional.

Allen’s hypothesis is here incontestably proven: the sea is as important to Irish literature as the air is to the characters on its pages. This however raises the question: who has not been influenced by the sea? Allen merges Irish literature and his own thalassography into an interdependent essence. Quite an accomplishment.

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100 years of the Newbery medal Fri, 28 May 2021 10:34:53 +0000

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The literary prize of beloved children, The Newbery medal, will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. The Newbery Medal was first offered in 1921 by Frédéric Melcher, then editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly. Melcher believed that children’s literature deserved recognition similar to great poetry, plays or novels and the awards that celebrate them. He believed that the creation of such an award would be a great opportunity for children’s librarians to serve the reading interests of children with excellent writing in the field. As a result, the Newbery Medal was officially created on June 22, 1921.

To understand the importance of the award, its history and its evolution over 100 years, I spoke with Kirby McCurtis, President of the Association for library service to children. McCurtis explained that literary awards, in general, increase the attention paid to a certain type of literature, which in turn improves the quantity and quality of that literature. Prizes like the Newbery Medal are not intended to award the most popular books. Instead, they recognize which books are the most “distinguished”. McCurtis says the members of the Newbery Medal committee “work very hard to identify the best of the best and bring them up. And when it comes to recognizing and rewarding achievement in children’s literature, McCurtis says, “Kids deserve it!”

Throughout its 100-year history, the award’s goal of recognizing distinguished children’s books remains, but “the Newbery of 100 years ago is quite different from the Newbery of today,” says McCurtis . Logistically, for example, the Newbery Medal Selection Committee was once also responsible for selecting the winner of the Caldecott Medal – an award for the most distinguished American children’s picture book artist. This overlap existed from the creation of the Caldecott Medal in 1937 until 1980.

Additionally, throughout its history, with few exceptions, the Newbery Medal has been awarded almost exclusively to white authors. McCurtis is candid about this aspect of the award’s history and the award’s commitments to do better. He says, “Today’s Newbery Medal Committee members are determined to research the wide range of voices and stories currently available to children. Since 2015, the Newbery Medal has been awarded to BIPOC authors every year except one.

With 100 years of history, there are many interesting or pivotal moments to share about this award. A full list of award winners can be found here. KT Horning, the director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) also shared some interesting facts about the Association for Children’s Library Services (ALSC), the Newbery Medal and the evolution of children’s literature award. For example:

In 1924, the medal was awarded posthumously for the first and only time. Charles Boardman Hawes, author of The black frigate, died before the award decision was made.

1928 marked the first year a BIPOC author received the Newbery Medal. Dhan Gopal Mukerji won for Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon. Forty-six years will pass before another BIPOC author wins the award, this time Virginia Hamilton for MC Higgins, the Great; seventy-four years will pass before another Asian American writer wins, in this case Linda Sue Park for A single shard.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt attended the 1937 Newbery Banquet and was seated at the head table next to Frédéric Melcher, who first conceptualized the award. It was also the last year the banquet was reserved for the Newbery Medal. The following year, the Caldecott Medal was created and became the Newbery-Caldecott Banquet.

Robert Lawson won the Newbery in 1944 for Rabbit Hill. He had won the Caldecott medal three years earlier for They were strong and good, and he remains the only person to have won both a Newbery and a Caldecott.

In 2000, Bud, not buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis was the first book to win both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award for Writing.

Notably, the award has also evolved with the fields of children’s literature and children’s library science. The moments in the history of the Newbery Medal demonstrate that children’s librarians have a long history of advocating for the constituents they serve, even if that means criticizing their own award-winning titles.

According to Sujei Lugo, a children’s librarian at Boston Public Library, one of these events occurred in 1958, after the Newbery Medal was awarded to Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith. Rifles for Watie is a novel about the Civil War and a young soldier from the Civil War. The book contains problematic content on African Americans and Native Americans.

After the book won the award, Charlemae Hill Rollins, committee member, librarian for black children and leader in the field, reached out to the book’s publisher and editor to discuss the problematic descriptions and words used regarding its black characters. . McCurtis adds, “It shows that there is a story of children’s librarians who advocate for humanity and respect for the lives and experiences of black children, and some have even had the courage to stand up and criticize award-winning titles.” . In the end, while the publisher understood Rollins’ concerns about the book, the author pushed back on the requested changes and lasting changes were not made. Libraries and children’s librarians have a responsibility to be accountable to the diverse communities they serve, and Rollins’ actions demonstrate this commitment.

The official Newbery 100e Birthday party will occur from ALA Annual Conference 2021 and culminating at the 2022 ALA Annual Conference. Between these two summers, a number of exciting opportunities and events are currently being planned for the public and ALA members.

Additionally, the Celebration Committee commissioned a series of collaborations with beloved children’s illustrators, who designed their own version of the “Newbery 100” logo. These illustrators and their designs, new products, events and resources, and more will be updated on the Newbery 100 web page when summer arrives. Throughout the 100th anniversary year of the medal, readers are encouraged to share their favorite Newbery books, authors, trivia, stories, memories and more on social media using # Newbery100.

Read more Book Riot articles on the Newbery Medal and children’s literature here.

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Explore the past of a Russian family and the meaning of history Fri, 28 May 2021 01:35:59 +0000

In memory of memory. By Maria Stepanova. Translated by Sasha Dugdale. New directions; 400 pages; $ 19.95. Fitzcarraldo Publishing; £ 14.99

AHIS CHILD, Maria Stepanova loved a game called sekretiki, or “little secrets”. She would dig holes in the ground, line them with aluminum foil, fill them with special objects, cover them with glass, and bury them in the earth, which friends knew. Growing up to be one of Russia’s most famous contemporary poets, writing played a similar role in his life. “I’m starting to like someone or something, the information accumulates on its own, and I want to write about it, put this material in a warehouse, find its unexpected rhythms,” she explains. from Moscow. “I want to make a sekretik. “

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Ms. Stepanova’s deepest love is for the past, especially that of her own family, and her illuminating book “In Memory of Memory” is a sekretik dedicated to them. After inheriting the archives of photographs, letters and ephemera from her ancestors, she set out to make sense of the family’s history, traveling from Paris to Saratov on the Volga and browsing art, literature and philosophy. Fleeing the traditional quest story, she mixes memory, criticism, essay, documentary and travelogue. The book has won several literary awards in Russia; as you read it, thinks Yury Saprykin, the founder of Polka, a Russian literary site: “You immediately feel that you are encountering a great work of art.” In Sasha Dugdale’s flexible English translation, he is a candidate for this year’s International Booker Prize, which will be awarded on June 2.

The story of the author’s Russian Jewish family does not make the headlines. “Everyone else’s ancestors had participated in the story, but mine seemed to have been mere tenants in the house of the story,” writes Ms. Stepanova, admitting to “the embarrassment” of the banality of their life. His relatives played a role in the great tales of the twentieth century, bypassing its catastrophes. And the archive raises as many questions as it answers; her attempts to fill in the gaps leave her with only “the linguistic shift of the names of my aunts Sanya, Sonya, Soka, lots of photographs of the nameless and the nameless, ethereal and unattached anecdotes and the familiar faces of unknown people” .

In other hands, such material might fall flat. Ms. Stepanova’s learning and lyricism bring it to life. She hears stories about her great-grandmother Sarra that “taste like legendary bay leaf”. She sees hills “dark copper colored, rising and falling as even as the breath”, and blackened villages where new churches shine “white like new crowns on old teeth.”

Little escapes his meditative gaze. “I wanted to create a book with a lot of inputs and outputs,” Ms. Stepanova explains. She’s thinking about everything from vintage clothes to selfies, from French philosopher Jacques Rancière to American artist Joseph Cornell to Russian poet Grigory Dashevsky. In a particularly stimulating chapter, she brings Russian writers Osip Mandelstam and Marina Tsvetaeva into conversation with German author WG Sebald. She tests metaphors of memory and methods of animating archival material, weaving excerpts from letters from parents throughout the book. Some readers may choke on this allusive style, as if they were drinking from a dusty old glass. Many will find it intoxicating.

Speak, memory

The myriad of references to other thinkers serves one purpose: to place Russia back into the larger Western cultural fabric. According to Ms. Stepanova, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Russian culture was part of a shared dialogue and exchange of ideas. Her search for the traces of her great-grandmother leads her to Paris, where Sarra studied medicine in the 1910s, while Franz Kafka and Amedeo Modigliani roam the streets of the same city.

But from the end of the 1930s, an “invisible curtain” separated Russian culture from the West, says Stepanova, and the country became an “exporter of some kind of frontier experience.” His literature, from Alexander Solzhenitsyn to Varlam Shalamov, has come to be seen primarily as “confessional or reporting material”. By connecting writers on the other side of this curtain, she aims to refute the idea that the Russian experience is distinct and unique. A passage in which she visits a museum in New York evokes this feeling of connection. Upon stumbling upon an image of autumn woods, “I start to cry, very softly, in my breath, because it is the same Moscow wood where I walked with my parents once, thousands of kilometers ago, and we are now looking at it again. As Mr Saprykin says, the book “brings us back to the feeling that Russia is part of world culture.”

Struggles for memory, notes Stepanova, are not exclusive to Russia. In essays elsewhere, she reflected on past appeals to greatness that in 2014 fueled Russia’s war with Ukraine; his observations could equally well apply to the rhetoric of Trump-era America and Brexit Britain. “The virus has spread around the world,” she laments. (Her output is terrific. She is editor-in-chief of, an online cultural journal; a collection of her essays and verses was published this year under the title “The Voice Over”; another collection of poetry has appeared in English as “War of beasts and animals”.)

When the past is thus pursued, suggests Ms. Stepanova, it becomes an opportunity “to settle scores, for a kind of conversation about the present which for some reason cannot take place in real time.” This infiltration through time is the underlying theme of ‘In memory of memory’, says Stanislav Lvovsky, a Russian poet and critic: ‘This is not a story about history, but about how the past is perpetuated in the present. ”

These disparate battles over memory may be part of the same war, but in Russia they tend to rage at a higher rate. Her country, says Stepanova, has long had competing channels for memory: official state-approved narrative and family stories, which “like lace have more holes than threads.” Vladimir Putin has made a glorious version of the past, especially victory in World War II, a pillar of his statist ideology. Last week, in a meeting with senior officials, Mr. Putin said that “all kinds of Russophobic individuals and unscrupulous politicians are trying to attack Russian history.” He promised “to ensure the continuity of historical memory in Russian society, so that decades and centuries from now, future generations will cherish the truth about war.”

Ms Stepanova highlights the dissonance between these ways of thinking in a poignant chapter on the siege of Leningrad. One of his distant relatives perished in battle there, writing quaint letters until his death. She quotes Lydia Ginzburg, a critic who noted behind the Nazi blockade how the Soviet system “dehumanized the individual to such an extent that he had learned to sacrifice himself without even realizing it”.

In contrast, Ms. Stepanova gives individual life a sense independent of collective destiny. For her, writing “is always a rescue operation”. The relics of his family are safely kept in their sekretik.

This article appeared in the Books and Arts section of the Print Publishing under the title “Secrets and lies”

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Betts, Flowers, Gottlieb ’94 receive honorary degrees Wed, 26 May 2021 22:12:56 +0000

At Wesleyan’s 189th launch on Wednesday, May 26, the University presented three honorary degrees to Reginald Dwayne Betts, Catherine Coleman Flowers and Scott Gottlieb ’94 for their significant contributions to the social, environmental and public health of the United States.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 and Reginald Dwayne Betts The Hon. 21

Reginald Dwayne Betts, who also delivered this year’s keynote address, was named an Honorary Doctor of Letters in recognition of his impact and influence as a poet, scholar and lawyer and for his “perseverance”. . . poetic sensibilities and adoption of education to empower life [and] using this empowerment and sensitivities to improve the lives of others. “

Award-winning author and memoirist, Betts is also the founder and director of the Million Book Project, a social justice initiative that seeks to expand meaningful and transformative access to books (on poetry, literature, history, social thought and d ‘other organized topics.) for incarcerated people throughout the prison system and to increase their engagement with the literary community.

Sentenced to nine years in maximum security himself at the age of 16, Betts has since earned a BA from the University of Maryland, an MA from Warren Wilson College, a JD from Yale Law School, and is currently pursuing a Juris Doctorate at Yale University. . He received an appointment from Governor Ned Lamont to the Connecticut Criminal Justice Commission, the state body that engages all state attorneys, and he continues to lecture on his formative experiences and the importance that courage, perseverance and literature played into its success, as well as the intersection between literature and advocacy.


Catherine Coleman Fleurs Hon. 21

Catherine Coleman Flowers is a teacher, researcher, author and activist renowned for her interest in environmental justice. By awarding him an honorary doctorate of science, Wesleyan recognized the flowers for helping “solve the problem of the failing water and waste infrastructure in rural communities and educat[ing] us on the environmental problems resulting from and contributing to structural inequalities. “

Originally from Lowndes County, Alabama, Flowers is the founding director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice. She is also rural development manager for Equal Justice Initiative, senior researcher at the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, and a board member of the Climate Reality Project and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Flowers was recently appointed to the Biden-Sanders Climate Change Task Force. See Flower’s opening speech here.

Roth and Scott Gottlieb '94

President Roth and Scott Gottlieb ’94, the Hon. “21.

Scott Gottlieb ’94 was also awarded an honorary doctorate in science. Physician, public health and policy adviser and advocate, and special partner of venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, Dr Gottlieb served as the 23rd Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2017 to 2019 and is currently resident. Member of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Public Policy Think Tank.

In presenting the honor, Provost Nicole Stanton commended Dr Gottlieb for his efforts in tackling some of the “most daunting health challenges of our time” and cited his accomplishments in tackling the opioid crisis, the epidemic use of e-cigarettes and drug prices, as well as his willingness to speak out and educate others about the nature of the COVID-19 virus.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wesleyan, Dr. Gottlieb received his MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He sits on the boards of directors of Pfizer, Illumina, Aetion and Tempus; previously was Senior Policy Advisor to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; and frequently contributes to CNBC and CBS Face the nation. His comments and articles have been published in Health Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, among many others. See Dr Gottlieb’s opening speech here.

A list of past honorary degree recipients and beginning speakers is available here. The President’s office welcomes suggestions for future honorary degree recipients. For more information contact

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