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July 20, 2008 | Marc Weingarten, Special to The Times
Craig Johnson comes as advertised. Standing outside the Autry National Center on a boiling summer afternoon, the Wyoming-based crime novelist is decked out in a long-sleeve shirt made of heavy cotton, scuffed brown boots and a 10-gallon hat that provides shade, but not nearly enough. Spotting his interlocutor, Johnson sticks out his hand and delivers a booming "How ya doin'?!"
April 27, 2014 | By Homero Aridjis
The first time I met Gabriel García Márquez, then an unknown writer in Mexico, was on July 6, 1962, in the office of the producer of Luis Buñuel's movie "Viridiana. " I remember the date well because after noticing the headline, Gabo asked to borrow the evening paper I had just bought, exclaiming "Dammit, today my master died," referring to William Faulkner. Faulkner famously detested intrusions in his private life, and the funeral in his native Oxford, Miss., was sparsely attended by several dozen family members, his publishers and a few writers.
Olympic sprint champion Florence Griffith Joyner died after suffering an epileptic seizure, according to autopsy results released Thursday, and her family and friends say they hope the findings will put to rest rumors that drug use contributed to her death. Griffith Joyner died last month in her sleep at age 38. Her husband, Al Joyner, bitterly criticized those who suggested that she took performance-enhancing drugs.
April 26, 2014 | David Colker
Mark Shand - brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall - was a modern version of the eccentric, slightly bumbling British adventurer. And he came by it honestly. He once walked and canoed across Indonesia for 12 days to get to a place where he could phone his mother. "And after all this enormous trouble," Shand told the Evening Standard in London in 2010, "I got through to the home number and said, 'Hi, Ma, it's me,' and she said, 'I can't talk to you now, I'm watching "Coronation Street.
Michael Verhoeven's film "The Nasty Girl" is Germany's entry in the foreign-language category in this year's Academy Awards. It is an occasionally surrealistic and often very funny account of a teen-aged Fraulein's distinctly unfunny and dangerous attempts to investigate the Nazi years in her hometown.
August 19, 2013 | By Yvonne Villarreal
They gave us a slow-motion chicken dance, Max Greenfield in a fat suit ( numerous times ) and the epic friend/roommate kiss. The “New Girl” writers room has kept busy concocting a steady stream of adorkable and nutty storylines for the Fox comedy in its short run. Now Sundance Channel is giving viewers a peak at how the funny is made, spotlighting the crew in its latest episode of “The Writers' Room.” The Sundance Channel series has...
February 19, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Like a lot of writers, I'm well-versed in the art of procrastination. In fact, it often feels like it's getting worse. We live in a culture of constant distraction, of tweets and Facebook status updates, of ephemera as news. With all the data (trivia?) pouring in across the virtual transom, it's a wonder that I, that anyone, can get anything done. At the same time, I want to tell you, procrastination is an important aspect of the writing process - and not just for me. How else to explain the frequency with which Megan McCardle's recent post in the Atlantic, “Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators,” has shown up in my Facebook and Twitter feeds?
October 17, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
The naughty writers have struck back. Yesterday, Jacket Copy's Carolyn Kellogg reported on Amazon, Kobo and other e-book retailers' cracking down on self-published erotica on their websites, attempting to remove titles of works that depict incest, rape and child pornography. Now, as Publishers Weekly reports , some self-published writers have launched a petition in protest, arguing that the broom retailers are using to sweep out the most offensive of these e-books is catching too many otherwise inoffensive works of erotica.
August 27, 2012 | By Matt Donnelly
Every writer needs inspiration, and while Mindy Kaling's Twitter account might suggest she's never without quips, she shared with the Ministry one of her biggest muses: Rihanna. As co-creator of Fox's "The Mindy Project," the actress and author said that RiRi often gets staff juices flowing because of her broad appeal. "Rihanna is a big favorite," Kaling said on Saturday at West Hollywood's Mondrian hotel, where a reception was held ahead of the show's fall premiere, "whatever the reason the guys on my staff can get behind it. They think she's just super hot and intimidating.
February 24, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Ask and ye shall receive. At least when it comes to authors and Amtrak. Amtrak has launched a still-unstructured writers residency program thanks to an offhanded remark by Alexander Chee and some impassioned pleas on Twitter. In a PEN Ten interview that posted Dec. 23, Chee, author of the forthcoming novel "The Queen of the Night," said that trains are his favorite place to write. He then commented, "I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers. " Not two months later and Amtrak does.
April 24, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
It sounds contrived, and it is. It sounds like a bit of a stunt, and it is that too. It may even sound boring, but that it is not. In fact, whip-smart filmmaking by writer-director Steven Knight and his team combined with Tom Hardy's mesmerizing acting make the micro-budgeted British independent "Locke" more minute-to-minute involving than this year's more costly extravaganzas. Though a dozen actors are listed in "Locke's" credits, Hardy is the only one who appears on screen in this real-time drama that unfolds inside a moving BMW during the 85 minutes it takes construction foreman Ivan Locke to make a nighttime drive from Birmingham to London.
April 24, 2014 | By Robert Abele
A resourcefully stylish indie sci-fi entry from Britain, "The Machine" drapes sleek visuals over an artificial intelligence tale set in a top-secret British government facility where robots are being developed to fight a cold war with China. Empathic computer genius Vincent (Toby Stephens) has more on his mind, however, than creating a weapon-strength, self-aware being for his military boss (Denis Lawson). Vincent imagines a revolutionary future in which the brain-damaged (be they wounded soldiers or his medically afflicted daughter)
April 22, 2014 | By Hector Tobar
The author and journalist Elena Poniatowska, who gained fame in Mexico for her chronicles of social injustice and government repression, is this year's winner of the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious literary prize in the Spanish language. Poniatowska, 82, has penned more than three dozen books, including several novels, children's books, essay collections, and works of nonfiction, including “La Noche de Tlatelolco,” (“The Night of Tlatelolco”) a groundbreaking oral history of the 1968 army massacre of student protesters in Mexico City.
April 18, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Gina Frangello's "A Life in Men" ( Algonquin ) is a novel about a woman with cystic fibrosis who decides to explore the word, making reckless choices with the knowledge that her time is limited. Frangello keeps very busy: She is fiction editor of the Nervous Breakdown, Sunday editor of the Rumpus, editor of Other Voices Books, an imprint of Dzanc, and teaches creative writing. "Frangello writes with epic ferocity," Beth Kephart wrote in the Chicago Tribune review of "A Life  in Men. " "She inhabits many countries brilliantly, many characters seamlessly, and a carousel of points of view.
April 17, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
It may be generations before we see another writer reach Gabriel Garcia Marquez's stature; he was so well-known and well-loved. His novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude" became an international bestseller of previously unknown proportions. After he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982, he rubbed shoulders with world leaders, kept writing, and, in countries all over the globe, celebrated books. Now, with Garcia Marquez gone, his fans -- presidents, writers, and more -- have been sharing their appreciation for the man and his work.
April 17, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Perhaps at some point it will again be possible to write the name Woody Allen and go from there. But after a year marked by artistic highs and controversial lows for the filmmaker, it seems impossible. To address the elephant in the room, all you'll find on the docket today is a look at "Fading Gigolo," an amusing indie film that includes some of Allen's finest work as an actor in years. Written and directed not by Allen but John Turturro, "Fading Gigolo" is something of a tart meditation on romance and morality through the prism of the oldest profession.
January 28, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Joan Didion had it right. In her 1976 essay “Why I Write,” originally published in the New York Times Book Review, she lays out the template in no uncertain terms: “In many ways writing is the act of saying I , of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind . It's an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions -...
June 10, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Before the Internet and multitasking, writers had more static distractions. More than anything, they looked out their windows. Most writers, in fact, still engage in the time-honored ritual of looking away from their keyboard, their manuscripts, and allowing their eyes to take in the landscapes visible through a pane of glass. Over at the Paris Review blog, a wonderful project is underway in which writers are asked to describe their windows. They call it: “ Windows on the World .” A drawing accompanies each writer's thoughts.  The most recent entry comes from the Brazilian writer Tatiana Salem Levy, who lives in a city -- Rio de Janeiro -- with many beautiful distractions.
April 14, 2014 | By Margaret Gray
As he has done so often in print under his pseudonym, Lemony Snicket, the writer Daniel Handler ("A Series of Unfortunate Events" and "All the Wrong Questions") doled out sage life advice to fans of all ages Sunday during a chat with fellow author Ransom Riggs ("Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children") at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. After telling a story about meeting in a bar with the agent who would agree to represent the gothic "Series," Handler reminded himself that there were probably children present.
April 13, 2014 | By Adam Tschorn
There was no shortage of chuckles, guffaws, sniggers, giggles and flat-out belly laughs at the Saturday afternoon panel discussion "Make Me Laugh! Humor Writing Across Genres" at the Festival of Books, which featured Mary Lou Belli, Sandra Tsing Loh and Michael Price, and was moderated by M.G. Lord. The panelists held forth for an hour (they and the audience seemed full well ready to clock a second hour), in front of an overflowing crowd, about the TV shows that helped shape their sense of humor ("F Troop," "MASH" and "Get Smart" among them)
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