Tag: Writing

When Ann Patchett Is Emperor

November 2016

The writer on America’s fear culture, bookstores as community builders, and why writers should care about their character more than their characters.

Darnell L. Moore & Kai M. Green: Conversation in Black

March 2016

Darnell L. Moore and Kai M. Green write to each other about life as black feminists.

The Book Lady of Kabul

December 2015

Block by block she maneuvers through the teeming sidewalks of Kabul’s Shar-E-Naw shopping district until she enters Ice-Milk Restaurant, stops at tables.

The Future Perfect

December 2015

The novelist on what atheists and true believers have in common and how Mark Twain, Henry James, and “Sigmund-fucking-Freud” lack imagination.

Fiction Tells a Truth That History Cannot

November 2015

On being mentored by Breyten Breytenbach and Paul Bowles.

Abigail Rasminsky: In Dodge Hall with Oliver Sacks

September 2015

A former student remembers the late Oliver Sacks.

Iowa Pastoral

April 2015

Unintended lessons from the acclaimed American writing program.

Elisa Albert: Where Do I Write? All Over The Damn Place

October 2014

On community, urban sprawl, infant mortality, and the Albany food co-op.

Alexandria Peary: Declined

June 2014

What literary ambition meant for women in the nineteenth century—and what it means today.

Alex Lemon: A Ferocious Kind of Music

April 2014

Why poetry needs more grit.

Thomas Larson: The Fearless Oratory of Christopher Hitchens

February 2014

The relationship between Hitchens’ written and public voices illustrates the potential of the social author.

Jessica Pishko: The News from San Quentin, Part 2

January 2014

Free Expression: Crime and punishment and “disapproved content.”

Xiaolu Guo: Why Do We Still Pretend We Are Free?

January 2014

Free Expression: The writer and filmmaker on her encounters with commercial censorship.

Akhil Sharma: When Despair and Tenderness Collide

January 2014

Mohsin Hamid and Akhil Sharma's conversation about writing, literary labels, and how illness challenges narrative.

A Gap in Definitions

January 2014

The award-winning Northern Irish writer on life in New York, poetry as “a way of being alone without feeling alone," and why “all writing is political.”

Benjamin Percy: In Touch with the Tooth and Claw

January 2014

Alicia Oltuski talks with the novelist about writing habits, slippery science, and terror.

Win Bassett: Prison Scratchings

November 2013

A former assistant district attorney reflects on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer and the intimacy of the handwritten word.

Catherine O’Flynn: What Remains of Us

October 2013

Catherine O'Flynn talks with Rob Sharp about the connection between humor and tragedy, the places we look for happiness, and why she set her novel in a British shopping mall.

Telling a Whopper

October 2013

The writer-musician rewrites the Battle Hymn in his new novel, The Good Lord Bird.

The Naked Man

September 2013

In the modern redux, penis is patriarchy, and patriarchy is violence. But must to show one's penis be to endorse power and privilege? An, er, intimate reconsideration of male nudity.

Bare-Knuckle Writing

September 2013

The acclaimed novelist & art critic on dismantling notions of gendered writing, the pleasures of translated texts, and “the clear divide between art and politics” in contemporary American fiction.

Jaswinder Bolina: Avoiding the Obvious

June 2013

Poet Jaswinder Bolina discusses writing about race, the process of being translated, and more.

You Are The Second Person

June 2013

You wondered out loud what writing “multiculturally” actually meant and what kind of black man would write the word “bro” in an email.

Zahir Janmohamed: Writer of Color

June 2013

On being asked to speak for a whole community and region rather than yourself.

The Answer is Colombia

June 2013

Reading Gabriel García Márquez’s morbidity in the happiest country on earth.


June 2013

The bestselling author of Wild on the Pacific Crest Trail, bringing consciousness to bear on the work, and how success has been met with a backlash.

The Faraway Nearby

May 2013

What’s your story? It’s all in the telling.

Interior Lives

May 2013

The award-winning novelist on the fluidity of sexuality, the intersections of art and selfishness, and her most recent book, The Woman Upstairs.

Mira Ptacin: Is a Baby a Luxury?

May 2013

When a chemical stick revealed that our little family was about to change, we were overjoyed. But not insured.

Another Kind of Life

May 2013

The American writer discusses turning his back on showy prose, being labelled an “erotic” author, and “the importance of being somebody.”

We Call This Progress

December 2012

From a speech at the Earth at Risk conference, Roy on the misuses of democracy and the revolutionary power of exclusion.

C.D. Wright: The Obstacle Worth Engaging

December 2012

The poet C.D. Wright discusses book-length works, the political in art, and more.

This, Desire

November 2012

Guest fiction editor Roxane Gay introduces this issue's erotica.

It Doesn’t Mean We’re Wasting Our Time

November 2012

Reflections on a postcard from David Foster Wallace

Alexia Nader: Literary Miami

October 2012

The broad strokes of Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood and the subtle specificity of Joan Didion’s Miami.

Katherine Paterson: The Risks of Great Literature

October 2012

Banned Books Week: The celebrated and banned children’s book author speaks with us about the fears of censors, the deaths of children, and what we need to risk for literature.

Alice Walker: Writing What’s Right

October 2012

Banned Books Week: The author of The Color Purple (and one of America’s most censured writers) tells Megan Labrise about finding wisdom in the songs of ancestors, why her acclaimed novel won’t be translated into Hebrew, and approaching writing in a priestly state of mind.

Natasha Lewis: Zadie Smith’s NW and Big Ideas

September 2012

Despite what Kakutani says, Smith’s new novel is not "Mrs. Dalloway Lite."

Alexia Nader: A Lesson from Thomas Hardy on Sex and Drama

August 2012

Character study vs. flimsy romance in Fifty Shades of Grey, Trishna,and Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Carlos Fuentes: The Lost Interview

June 2012

A conversation recorded on the road reveals the late author’s take on the role of the writer-as-activist. Read and listen.

Andrea Jones: Brainwave on Brainwaves

May 2012

When writer Rivka Galchen and neuroscientist David Linden get together, the boundaries of science, emotion, and memory blur.

László Krasznahorkai: The Disciplined Madness

April 2012

The Hungarian writer talks terror in fiction, the aesthetic of the long sentence, his love of contemporary music, and collaborating with Allen Ginsberg.

Tom Bissell: Solitude at the Fault Line of Literary Culture

April 2012

Tom Bissell talks about the blurred line between fiction and non-fiction, ridding the world of mediocre writing, and Tommy Wiseau of The Room.

Astri von Arbin Ahlander: Interview with Sam Lipsyte

April 2012

Sam Lipsyte on being an American writer in translation and the venerable tradition of masturbation in literature.

Ondaatje’s Table

March 2012

Michael Ondaatje on making fiction of un-remembered autobiography, holding back two-thirds of the story, and bringing the marginalized to the center

The Dyer’s Hand

February 2012

Genre-defying British writer Geoff Dyer on how watching Tarkovsky’s Stalker on repeat turned into his most successful book.

Miracle Realist

November 2011 In a candid interview, the Israeli author on Netanyahu’s impotence, how his son’s death affected his latest novel, and Israel’s need to embrace Palestinians with humanity.


September 2011

The author of the lauded graphic novel Blankets discusses the influences behind his new book, the effect of 9/11 on his work, and the decline of the superhero in comics.

The Sick and the Well

July 2011 Lynne Tillman discusses her latest mindfuck story collection and how social reading platforms erode the barrier between writer and reader.


May 2011 The author Amitav Ghosh discusses the link between anthropology and writing, The New Yorker’s edit of his essay on the Iraq war, and John Updike’s worst book.

A Kind of Flag-Planting

November 2010 On the heels of her second novel and fourth work of fiction, Bender considers magic and math, craft and discipline, and the influence of other writers and artists on her work.