Saturday, June 25, 2016

On Brexit lit

My contribution to the Daniel Dragomirescu's Contemporary Literary Horizon compilation of statements on the Brexit vote:

In many different ways and in different periods of history, the writer stands beyond the needs of any individual state or nation. We, as contributors to literature everywhere, know that a single day's vote, a "Brexit," cannot capture all of the nuances of all of the literatures to come out of, pass through, or in otherwise relate to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, or elsewhere. Indeed, literature will remain a transient, and we will celebrate it for that reason, whether we are thinking of James Joyce's discovery of Italo Svevo's novels in Trieste or all the famous migrations before or after--Kundera in France, Hemingway in Cuba, Bolano in Spain, or some of today's great European writers--Aleksander Hemon, Joseph O'Neill, to name a couple--who make part or all of their lives in the United States. The state may demand of us everything--our time, allegiance, taxes, prayers, and more--but, as writers, we always live beyond such temporal concerns, recognizing the humanity we share. Best to England, best to Europe, and, of course, best to Daniel Peaceman, living beyond the borders as always.

Alex Kudera, American novelist of Fight for Your Long Day and Auggie's Revenge
(Although I did not return to Ha Jin's The Writer as Migrant to prepare this statement, I read Ha Jin's  extended essay in 2009 and would consider it an influence among many other books on my thinking about Brexit and how it relates to literature and the lives of literary writers.)

virtually from London, England. . .

London, England's summer superstar Lavinia Ludlow was kind enough to interview me for Auggie's Revenge a couple months ago. Here's an excerpt:

L^2: As an adjunct-professor, how has your perspective changed since writing Fight for your Long DayAuggie's Revenge seems to contain more frustration and jadedness in the overall narrative.
AK: Yes, I was responding to all the pain and lament and anger I was seeing from adjuncts online, all the anguish they were expressing on social media. To be honest, although I shared offices with some adjuncts in really bad situations, I don’t think I was truly tuned in to how horrible the situation is until after I published the “original adjunct novel.” I hope there are laughs in Auggie’s Revenge—that was certainly part of the plan—but, yes, I intended to describe a world for adjuncts and many other exploited workers and indebted students as one where people are rightfully jaded and frustrated. At the same time, I can’t escape the white male as flunky or pretentious jackass, so I hope readers see a discourse of personal responsibility in my narratives, perhaps one that runs counter to other ideas explicit or implicit in the books.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

diversity in the college classroom

Read more from Part 1 and Part 2 of an extended interview on Auggie's Revenge and the Classroom Edition of Fight for Your Long Day.

excerpt from interview with Chris Kelso

AK: I think Fight for Your Long Day is a great selection for the classroom because it raises some great questions—why did we create a society where college teachers struggle? where they may not be able to see a doctor? where students and families pay increasingly unbelievable prices for education necessary for a decent life or any survival at all?—and then to contrast against the “war on terror” that government’s role is to protect all of us, how did America in 2004 come to be? Of course, it’s possible that for many, by America 2014 or 16, conditions are even worse although many some pockets of America may be prospering. A current internet meme claims that only 20% of Americans are part of financially secure households although an academic study suggested the figure was closer to 30%. And then the contrast with the rest of the world—the possibility that contemporary America is about as good as it gets when compared to the common lives of citizens of many other countries. Cyrus Duffleman is trudging through unusual times and almost against the official rhetoric of his times.

Friday, June 10, 2016

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Auggie's Revenge: Reviews, Interviews, and Excerpts

Book Reviews: "The Teaching Life as a House of Troubles," by Don Riggs, American, British and Canadian Studies , June 1, 2017 ...