This week, we’re sharing stories from Wendy C. Ortiz, Mary South, Jeremiah Moss, Nora Caplan-Bricker, and Samanth Subramanian.

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1. Adventures in Publishing Outside the Gates

Wendy C. Ortiz | Gay Magazine | January 29, 2020 | 14 minutes (3,521 words)

When Latinx author Wendy C. Ortiz shopped her memoir, Excavation, about the inappropriate sexual relationship her eighth grade English teacher initiated with her, mainstream publishers wouldn’t give her the time of day. She published it with tiny Future Tense Books, and the book gained a strong following. Among her readers was white author Kate Elizabeth Russell, whose forthcoming novel, My Dark Vanessa — for which she received a seven-figure deal and a blurb from Stephen King —  is remarkably similar. In this essay, Ortiz takes the white-dominated publishing industry to task for its longstanding discrimination against, and erasure of, writers of color.

2. Frequently Asked Questions About Your Craniotomy

Mary South | The White Review | January 17, 2020 | 16 minutes (4,228 words)

A lifetime of exploring and repairing the human brain doesn’t bring the neurosurgeon in this darkly funny, compelling short story any closer to understanding the human mind.

3. Open House

Jeremiah Moss | n + 1 | January 17, 2020 | 26 minutes (6,663 words)

As his neighbors pass from health problems and old age, relinquishing formerly rent-controlled apartments to monied young people, writer Jeremiah Moss remembers and mourns the simple intimacies that passed among the colorful tenants of his East Village apartment building.

4. Vivian Gornick Doesn’t Get the Hype

Nora Caplan-Bricker | The Cut | January 24, 2020 | 11 minutes (2,838 words)

Nora Caplan-Bricker speaks with the incisive author about how her views on feminism and politics have evolved over her 84 years, and of her ongoing “quest for ‘expressiveness’ — a word that, in her work, connotes both inner clarity and the ability to translate that insight outward.”

5. Question Time: My Life as a Quiz Obsessive

Samanth Subramanian | The Guardian | January 28, 2020 | 24 minutes (6,084 words)

From India and Ireland to the U.S., quiz tournaments are enduringly popular even — if not especially — as information has become more accessible than ever.