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Book News: Tennessee Williams Tale Of Disappointed Love To Be Published

Playwright Tennessee Williams sits at his typewriter on Nov. 11, 1940, in New York.
Dan Grossi
Playwright Tennessee Williams sits at his typewriter on Nov. 11, 1940, in New York.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • A previously unpublished campus love story by Tennessee Williams called "Crazy Night," will appear in the next issue of Strand magazine. The Prohibition-era tale takes place during on the last night of the semester, known as "crazy night" because of the wild parties and bootleg alcohol. It centers around disappointed love for a girl named Anna Jean – a name familiar to readers of Tennessee Williams' memoirs, which recount a "poignant and innocent little affair" with a "very charming" girl of that name. In an email to NPR, Strand managing editor Andrew Gulli wrote, "One of [Williams'] themes was how relationships fail and lead to bitterness when love turns into idealization and those themes are very much at play in 'Crazy Night.' I think there are many autobiographical elements at play in the story and this might be the missing piece in the puzzle about his references to an Anna Jean in his memoirs and notebooks." Williams wrote a short poem for the real Anna Jean, recorded in his memoirs:
  • "Can I forget

    the night you waited

    beside your door --

    could it have been more plainly stated? --

    for something more."

  • Canada has put Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro on a new silver coin. The $5 commemorative coin will cost $69.95, which kind of seems like a bad deal, but hey.
  • The winners of the Anisfield-Wolf Awards, which celebrate "books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity," have been announced. They include Anthony Marra for his novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Adrian Matejka for his poetry collection The Big Smoke, and Ari Shavit for My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. Lifetime achievement awards went to Sir Wilson Harris and George Lamming. "The 2014 Anisfield-Wolf winners are exemplars who broaden our vision of race and diversity," jury chairman Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote in a press release. "This year, there is exceptional writing about the moral complexity of Israel, a transporting first novel set in war-torn Chechnya and a collection of poems on the myth and unapologetic masculinity of the first African-American heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson."
  • Mallory Ortberg has created a quiz asking "Does He Like You?" based on Samuel Richardson's 1740 novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, in which a maidservant is held captive by her master until she falls in love with him:
  • 1. Your employer, the lady of the house, finally dies after a long illness. At the funeral, her son:

    A. Graciously and feelingly mourns her passing.

    B. Takes you by the hand in front of them all (yes, in front of them all!) and swears that "for my dear mother's sake, I will be a friend to you, and you shall take care of my linen."

    C. Has unprotected sex with you in the Summer House.

    D. Steals all of your letters to your parents and locks you in a dungeon.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Annalisa Quinn is a contributing writer, reporter, and literary critic for NPR. She created NPR's Book News column and covers literature and culture for NPR.