Happy Birthday to Helen Keller

Today we celebrate the birth of Helen Keller. Many of us are familiar with the basics of Keller’s biography—that childhood illness left her deaf and blind, that she worked with her teacher Anne Sullivan to acquire language—but she was also a prolific writer and a tireless activist, lending her support to the advancement of women and various socialist causes. Her intellectually daring memoir, The World I Live In, is available from NYRB Classics.

NYRB celebrates early summer birthdays

Félix Fénéon (1861-1944), born on June 22, labored in anonymity in a French war office, but he was also a critic, publisher, journalist, anarchist, and “literary instigator.” Also born on June 22 was Dutch author Nescio, or Jan Hendrik Frederik Grönloh (1882-1961), a writer whose growing reputation and cult readership have marked him as a figure in world literature.

Yoram Kaniuk, 1930–2013

Eyal Landesman

It is with great sadness that NYRB notes the death of celebrated Israeli author Yoram Kaniuk. One of the Dor Tashach—the “1948 generation” of writers who came of age during birth of the State of Israel—Kaniuk was fearless about taking on controversial issues. In his early career, his style ran contrary to those of his peers; rather than embracing realism, he reveled in a stream-of-consciousness more akin to surrealism. He valued self-criticism over self-righteousness.