Did the CIA fund creative writing in America? The idea seems like the invention of a creative writer. Yet once upon a time (1967, to be exact), Paul Engle received money from the Farfield Foundation to support international writing at the University of Iowa. The Farfield Foundation was not really a foundation; it was a CIA front that supported cultural operations, mostly in Europe, through an organization called the Congress for Cultural Freedom
Roxane Gay on writers of color:
We are many. We are everywhere. The world of letters is far more diverse than the publishing climate would lead us to believe. You only need to open your eyes and open your mind.
Thereâ€™s a long tradition of writers writing about their libraries. Some of the first modern essaysâ€”by Michel de Montaigne and Sir Francis Baconâ€”are on that very subject. Among more recent publications, you might enjoy Anne Fadimanâ€™s collection Ex Libris or Larry McMurtryâ€™s Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen. The trouble with people writing about their libraries is, well, every writer has one. Itâ€™s like writing about your left hand. Or your M.F.A. program. But McMurtry is a special case. If he had never written Lonesome Dove or The Last Picture Show, he would be famousâ€”at least among collectorsâ€”as one of the countryâ€™s most respected dealers in used and rare books. When he writes about his library, he always has something interesting to say.