Notable Articles

October 29, 2014

‘The Blank Screen Is the Enemy': The Millions Interviews David Mitchell 5

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Realism, when done well, is more fantastical than fantasy.

September 22, 2014

The Trouble with Writing 28

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The trouble with writing is that it is often a roller coaster pitching us between grandiosity and despair.

September 10, 2014

The Magic Building Where English Majors Work: Making Sense of Creative Writing’s Job Problem 19

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When is the right time to tell aspiring writers about their job prospects? In graduate school? Before they even apply to graduate school? Or sooner than that even—in their first creative writing class? Never? Let them Google it because it’s just too depressing otherwise?

August 20, 2014

Practical Art: On Teaching the Business of Creative Writing 73

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This is the inside joke of creative writing programs in America. We know creative writing doesn’t make money, and yet we continue to graduate talented writers with no business acumen. At best, it is misguided. At worst, it is fraudulent.

July 25, 2014

How to be James Joyce, or the Habits of Great Writers 9

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Eudora Welty edited her writing with scissors in hand to cut out and re-pin sections of text. Truman Capote fancied himself a horizontal writer: he would only work lying down, with a glass of sherry close at hand. Anthony Trollope maintained a rather more industrial regimen, beginning his day promptly at 5:30 a.m. and pacing himself with a watch to write 250 words every 15 minutes.

July 25, 2014

Italo Calvino’s Science Fiction Masterpiece 9

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Cosmicomics is that rarity among progressive texts: its premises are absurd and almost incoherent, yet the plot lines are filled with romance, drama, and conflicts that draw the readers deeper and deeper into the text.

July 7, 2014

Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2014 Book Preview 18

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At over 8,000 words strong and encompassing 84 titles, this is the only second-half 2014 book preview you will ever need.

May 27, 2014

55 Thoughts for English Teachers 24

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You need to love words. You don’t need to love a certain type of book or a particular writer, but you need to love letters and phrases and the possibilities of language. You will spend most of your days dealing with words, and students can sense if words do not bring you joy.

May 16, 2014

Thug: A Life of Caravaggio in Sixty-Nine Paragraphs 11

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He never had a chance. Three men held him down while a fourth sliced his face. Afterwards, he was almost unrecognizable. They could have killed him but they wanted him to live, bearing his scars for the rest of his life. Everyone would know what that meant.

May 5, 2014

Shakespeare’s Greatest Play? 5 Experts Share Their Opinions 17

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William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday is upon us, and at The Millions we wanted to celebrate it in 21st century American style, by debating which of his 38 plays is the best.