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Link Roundup: Author Interviews and Publishing News

PUBLISHED: May 29, 2009

1. ABC Australia’s “The Book Show” recently interviewed Jason Anthony about his eight years in Antarctica. Jason wrote about his time there in “The Heartless Immensity,” featured in our current issue.

Leaf Portrait2. VFH Radio commissioned a brief feature about Binh Dahn and Robert Schultz’s paired chlorophyl photographs and poems, which were published in our winter issue. Their collaborative work honors the victims of the Khmer Rouge through an unusual method of printing their portraits. You can listen here:


3. NPR’s Chana Joffe-Walt says poets don’t mind the recession, what with already being poor. Neither do the folks running small poetry presses, since their books are money losers, no matter the economy. I have to suspect this comes as cold comfort to poets.

4. Farrar, Straus & Giroux VP Elisabeth Sifton isn’t sure that books as we know them can survive the book trade’s poor decisions and competition from the web:

I want only to stress that the loss of so many book-review pages nationwide is crippling all aspects of our literary life. And I mean all. Book news and criticism were fundamental to the old model of book publishing and to the education of writers; Internet coverage of books, much of it witty and interesting, does not begin to compensate for their loss.

Palestinian Territories5. Julien Bousac has depicted the Palestinian territories as a nation of islands by rendering Israeli territory as water, as featured on the always-excellent Strange Maps. Bousac emphasizes that “[t]he map is not about ‘drowning’ or ‘flooding’ the Israeli population, nor dividing territories along ethnic lines, even less a suggestion of how to resolve the conflict.” We’ll have more on this topic in our summer issue, which comes out July 1.

6. Royal Dutch Shell is on trial for the execution of a Nigerian critic, in addition to paying Nigerian troops to commit human rights abuses on Shell’s behalf. The trial begins in New York next week. John Ghazvinian wrote about the clash between Nigerians and multinational oil companies in “The Curse of Oil,” in our Winter 2007 issue.


Elliott Woods's picture
Julien Bousac’s map of the “Palestinian Archipelago” is an excellent, innovative way to conceptualize the crisis of Israel’s closure policies in the West Bank. The map shows that the system of walls, fences, closed military zones, and checkpoints constructed by Israel is no mere “separation wall,” i.e., a neat dividing barrier between the WB and Israel, running from north to south. The closure system cuts off families from one another, interrupts the flow of goods between agricultural markets and towns, and prevents farmers from accessing their land. This map shows that critics are not hyperbolic when they describe Israel’s closure as a “cancer.” It has metastasized, and it is strangling the West Bank. Maps are powerful. While this one might provoke a smile, purely by its ingenuity, the real maps of the West Bank today — whether those made by Israel or those made by groups like UN Office of Coordination and Humanitarian Aid (OCHA), the one showing what Israelis would like to imagine and the other showing what they have actually accomplished — are nothing to laugh about. As Meron Benvenisti’s book Sacred Landscapes makes clear, those who control maps — and those involved in the processes of mapping, naming, and zoning — are in a position of extreme power. For example, consider a map that shows the outskirts of the Ariel settlement circumscribed by clearly delineated boundaries. Is not the person who looks at that map — local or foreigner — inclined to deem that area “Ariel?” How many years have to pass before mapping and zoning of that sort become “facts on the ground,” even in the consciousness of some Palestinians? Mapping Israel and the West Bank in such a way has been central to the Israeli occupation and land-grabbing strategy for more than 100 years. Bousac’s map also shows a very clear picture of how much West Bank land falls under Areas B and C, the areas that are partially or completely under Israeli administration. Movement for Palestinians in Area B — where Pal. Authority troops and municipalities cooperate with the Israel Defense Forces — is severely restricted. Area C includes closed Israeli military zones, settlements, and settler roads. More than half of West Bank Palestinians live in Area A, under full PA administration — Area A comprises less than 20% of West Bank land. I read a smart criticism of Bousac’s map the other day on The Arabist, a blog dedicated to culture and politics from the Arabic-speaking world: “[Bousac’s map] would be properly descriptive except water is maneuverable and Israeli occupation and control isn’t.” (…)

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