Seven Stories publisher Dan Simon's essay in the current Nation details why Nelson Algren matters so much—not just as a literary figure, but for us all, right here, right now. For one week only, take 75% off all e-books by Algren on the Seven Stories website. Click through for details.
Happy birthday to Nelson Algren, one of Seven Stories's founding authors and patron saints. Algren was the first ever National Book Award winner, the one-time lover of Simone de Beauvoir, and an inspiration to artists as diverse as Kurt Vonnegut and Donald Barthelme, Studs Turkel and Lou Reed. But Algren was much more than his accolades and could ever show, as the following excerpt from his Noncomformity: Writing on Writing will attest. Beginning with an epigraph from F. Scott Fitzgerald in his 'crack-up' years, Algren's essay is, in some ways, the opposite of inspiring. It is a look into the depths of the writer's motivation (hint: vindictiveness), and a hymn to all those who "live underground." Perhaps enjoy is not the world—but we hope you'll find yourself moved and provoked by this lyrical and brilliant piece of writing on writing.