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Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby

Kirby’s book succeeds not just because she’s a preternaturally gifted prose stylist, but because of her willingness to take risks. She experiments with points of view and occasionally dips into metafiction (“Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories” is a master class in storytelling, as well as a hilarious commentary on a fiction scene that’s seen men overrepresented for decades.) And yet she also knows when to tap the brakes, when to step back and let her carefully drawn characters speak for themselves. It’s a stunning collection from a writer whose talent and creativity seem boundless. Read more

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We need comic novels more than ever. So where are they?

A nation recovering from the worst health emergency in 100 years needs novels full of humor. But if laughter is the best medicine, our fiction is in dangerously short supply. It’s an odd and persistent problem, compounded by the fact that most of the novels marketed as funny are, in fact, not very funny. Or they traffic in wit so dry their lips would crack if they smiled. Read more

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Damon Young’s “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker” wins Thurber Prize

Young, 42, of Pittsburgh co-founded and was editor-in-chief of “Very Smart Brothas;” he announced his departure from the website earlier this month. He is a columnist for GQ and has been published in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Time Magazine, Ebony and Jezebel magazines. Young describes himself as a “writer, critic, humorist, satirist and professional Black person.”

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