The Gellhorn Spirit

Martha Gellhorn was born on this day in 1908. The annual Gellhorn Prize is awarded to an investigative journalist whose work is in the Gellhorn spirit -- tells "an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda," as the GP website puts it. In a 1939 letter to her friend, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gellhorn gives this "longwinded and confused statement of faith":

I hate what happens in these times, but ignoring it won't change it. And someday if I go on trying to know and understand, I may at last get it all in some sort of shape or order…and then maybe I could write something that would make just a few other people think too. If democracy is good, it must depend on the constant concern of the citizens. God knows I don't recommend concern as it would surely be more comfortable to be a cabbage…. Myself, alone, I have a wonderful and privileged life and am deeply aware every minute of my benefits and good luck. But the only way I can pay back for what fate and society have handed me is to try, in minor totally useless ways, to make an angry sound against injustice….

Daybook is contributed by Steve King, who teaches in the English Department of Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. His literary daybook began as a radio series syndicated nationally in Canada. He can be found online at todayinliterature.com.

 

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."