IN 2019, DARRIN BELL BECAME THE FIRST BLACK artist to win a Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning. The prize committee recognized the freelancer for his “beautiful and daring editorial cartoons that took on issues affecting disenfranchised communities, calling out lies, hypocrisy and fraud in the political turmoil surrounding the Trump administration.”
Darrin Bell was about 5 years old when he discovered political cartoons. He was living in Southern California, and he came across the work of Paul Conrad while leafing through issues of the Los Angeles Times.
“I was just a little kid, but I learned about the Iran hostage crisis through Conrad,” Bell recalls. “I loved his images, and I asked my parents what they meant. They explained them to me, and I followed them avidly. I knew I wanted to do that kind of work someday.”
Noah Berger admits he wasn’t the most diligent student when he attended UC Berkeley back in the early 1990s. He simply didn’t feel cut out for academe. In fact, there was only one thing that really engaged his interest during his freshman year in 1992: taking photographs for the Daily Californian.
Posted on May 17, 2019 - 11:46am
The North Bay fires were national news mere hours after they ignited early in the morning of October 9. The dawn sun, glimmering wanly through the pall of smoke cloaking Sonoma and Napa Counties, illuminated the smoldering ruins of hundreds of homes. No relief was imminent: the hot, dry winds that had sent the flames howling from Calistoga to Santa Rosa continued unabated, and the forecast was for more of the same. This was a natural catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina—possibly worse.
Posted on April 25, 2018 - 4:31pm
When Vikram Chandra started writing his best-selling novel, Sacred Games (2006), he knew it was going to be a big book. And he was right: All told, the novel is 947 pages, includes over 100 characters, and spans a 60-year timeline. To make the writing process smoother, Chandra set out to find a software program he could use to store, organize, and keep track of the details of his novel. But no off-the-shelf program met his needs.
In describing poet Tracy K. Smith’s work, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden says: “Her work travels the world and takes on its voices; brings history and memory to life; calls on the power of literature as well as science, religion and pop culture. With directness and deftness, she contends with the heavens or plumbs our inner depths—all to better understand what makes us most human.” Hayden named Smith the 22nd U.S. poet laureate this Wednesday.
Posted on June 14, 2017 - 3:56pm
Seven hours before Shane Bauer was to start his 6 a.m. shift at the Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield, Louisiana, his wife shook him awake. “Something’s wrong,” she said. His colleague from the magazine Mother Jones, James West, hadn’t returned from shooting nighttime footage of the private prison where Bauer worked. Had officials there discovered that Bauer wasn’t just a regular guard, but an investigative reporter from San Francisco?
Moral complexity often rests at the heart of truly great films, and Dan Krauss has consistently gravitated toward documenting powerful stories on dubious ethical ground, where we see shades of grey, rather than sharp black and white.
Posted on January 5, 2017 - 2:07pm
When telling a story, and it doesn’t matter if that story is long or short, fiction or nonfiction, the marginalized writer must be defiant.
So says writer Viet Thanh Nguyen.
Defiant is not the first descriptor that comes to mind for this particular writer, a Vietnamese refugee and UC Berkeley alumnus, who in fall 2016 wore a royal blue suit, purple tie, and orange socks at the Pulitzer awards banquet in Manhattan to accept the Fiction award for his debut novel, The Sympathizer (Grove Press, 2015). Flamboyant, maybe. Defiant, no.