When Dr. Hans Prinzhorn published The Artistry of the Insane in 1922, it’s unlikely the good doctor could have anticipated the collection amassed at the 19th Annual Outsider Art Fair in New York this past weekend. Monica Adame Davis explored the outer limits.
Monica Adame Davis speaks to “pulp” author Scott Wolven about Roberto Bolaño, Louisiana cooking and the brilliance of HBO programming.
When I was first read Scott Wolven’s work, I knew I had stumbled upon something fresh and so different from other contemporary short stories I have read. In Wolven’s Controlled Burn: Stories of Prison, Crime, and Men, each story was alive with brutal hardship and landscapes that have proved impossible to forget. Upon finishing the collection, I was convinced that I too could properly load a pistol or even feel the monotony of days passing by in a prison cell. Wolven presents Noir to the reader in a form that is highly stylized and leaves us nostalgic for more modern day pulp. I had the pleasure of speaking with Wolven about the past and future of Noir, the inspirations behind his vivid characters and stories, his close relationship with landscapes, and his much-anticipated novel False Hopes.
Monica Adame Davis You have been featured in Best American Mystery Stories seven times in a row, which as Publisher’s Weekly puts it, is twice as often as the next most-often writer Joyce Carol Oates. You are clearly celebrated in the literary world, but remain underground and undiscovered to discerning readers. Do you feel that your success and praise by authors like Richard Ford, George Pelecanos, and Elmore Leonard has been somewhat shrouded because you are primarily known as a writer of short stories?
Scott Wolven I feel lucky to be mentioned in the same paragraph as Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Ford, George Pelecanos, and Elmore Leonard. It was an amazing honor to be included in the Best American Noir Of The Century, edited by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler—the same goes for being included in the Best American Mystery Stories series. Short stories have just always suited me, although I’m trying to get on-track to have a novel come out every one or two years now. My forthcoming novel is titled False Hopes and I’ll have another one, plus some short stories, before the year is out. That might put my stories in the hands of more readers. I have some stories on Kindle, too. I remember a couple of years ago reading something by Gary Fisketjon about what can trigger the “discovery” of a writer who is just a little off the radar for readers—I think my new stories will do that. Move me onto the radar. My aim is to have my new stories keep me in that good company of writers.
The release of a posthumous non-fiction collection by author Roberto Bolaño provides new insights into the mind of a modern master through articles and columns written during his last five years.
If you were lucky enough to make it to Galapagos Art Space on Monday, June 13th to celebrate the release of Roberto Bolaño’s new book Between Parentheses by New Directions, you are likely still musing over this glimpse into the non-fiction world of a great writer. Translator Natasha Wimmer, novelist Francisco Goldman, writer and The Believer editor Heidi Julavits, Harper’s contributing editor Wyatt Mason, and The Paris Review editor Lorin Stein each read and discussed their favorite excerpts from the book as an eager audience absorbed them for the first time in English.