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Hughes, Korine, Le Guin
Hughes, Korine, Le Guin
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News in Brief: Langston Hughes's Home, Harmony Korine's Novel Adaptation, and Le Guin's Canonization

Picture of Michael Barron
Books and Digest Editor
Updated: 30 August 2016
Welcome to our new Monday news brief of literary news gathered over the weekend.
Langston Hughes (left) © Carl Van Vechten and the Hughes Home (right) © America's Roof, both courtesy of Wikicommons
Langston Hughes (left) | © Carl Van Vechten and the Hughes Home (right) | America's Roof, both courtesy of Wikicommons

Langston Hughes, bard of the Harlem Renaissance, may be getting a renaissance all of his own. His Harlem brownstone home, located at 20 East 127th St, has been designated as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) since 1982, but has sat mostly in disrepair. Now a non-profit group—I, Too, Arts Collective—is seeking to turn the building into a legacy and arts institute to preserve the memory of Hughes and give a community center to young poets and artists.

For the past ten years, I’ve walked past the brownstone where Langston Hughes lived and wondered why it was empty,” writes Renee Watson, organizer of I, Too, on her Indiegogo page. “How could it be that his home wasn’t preserved as a space for poets, a space to honor his legacy? I’d pass the brownstone, shake my head, and say, ‘Someone should do something.’ I have decided that someone is me.”

According to Smithsonian magazine, a house on the NHL list, “does not preserve or restrict the use of such places.” Along with saving the site from crumbling away, Watson is also working to protect the home from developers: “A new Harlem renaissance,” continues the Smithsonian article, one characterized by skyrocketing real estate prices and developers who swoop in only to gut and demolish historic homes, threatens the remnants of his physical Harlem legacy.”

You can learn more about I, Too, Arts Collective’s campaign by visiting their Indiegogo page.


Harmony Korine (left) © gdcgraphics, courtesy of Wikicommons | cover of Tampa, courtesy of Faber & Faber
Harmony Korine (left) © gdcgraphics, courtesy of Wikicommons | cover of Tampa, courtesy of Faber & Faber

Independent film maverick Harmony Korine has picked up rights to adapt Alissa Nutting’s 2013 novel Tampa, and it’s looking to be the most scandalous work Korine has put before a screen.

The book’s subject matter — a fictional account between the love of a teacher and her teenage student — ignited controversy upon publication. The premise may sound Lolita-esque, but as IndieWire reminded us, this novel makes the desires of Humbert Humbert rated-G. Here is an excerpt from the book’s official synopsis: “Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.”

Somewhat coincidentally, Slate’s cultural editor Dan Kois pleaded for someone to get Korine to direct the film adaptation when he listed “Tampa” as one of his favorite books of 2013: “Tampa mixes deadpan social satire, lurid true-crime storytelling, and out-and-out porn into a poisonous stew—a novel that’s arousing, enraging, and deeply in tune with our monstrous times. Someone hire Harmony Korine to make the movie, ASAP.”

IndieWire reports that fans may have to wait on Tampa while Korine finishes up other projects, and that the adaptation may be for a television series instead of a feature-length film.


Ursula Le Guin and her Library of America collection
Ursula Le Guin and her Library of America collection | © theNerdPatrol/Flickr and courtesy of the Library of America

Ursula K Le Guin is set to be inducted into the distinguished Library of America, one of the few living writers to do so, with the publication of The Complete Orsinia, a gathering of some of her lesser-known work.

The Library of America, a non-profit publisher of American classics, puts out definitive editions that are heavily researched, annotated, and edited by scholars of a particular writer’s oeuvre. According to the New York Times, who profiled the Le Guin for the occasion, the Library of America was initially interested in bringing out a volume of Le Guin’s better known science fiction, but she instead pushed for the publication of her non-science fiction literature, including a rare work set in a imagined Central European country, “Malafrena.”

I want to do it my way,” Le Guin told the New York Times. “I don’t want to be reduced to being ‘the sci-fi writer.’ People are always trying to push me off the literary scene, and to hell with it.”

The Complete Orsinia is out Sept 6.