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All Write Already!
42 minutes | Oct 29, 2015
Episode 53: Lindsay Hunter, Plus Shakespeare Gets A Facelift
Lindsay Hunter, is the co-founder and co-host of the groundbreaking Quickies! reading series, a monthly event that focused on flash fiction. Her first book, Daddy’s, a collection of flash fiction, was published in 2010 by featherproof books, a boutique press in Chicago. Her second collection, DON’T KISS ME, was published by FSG Originals in 2013 and was named one of Amazon’s 10 Best Books of the Year: Short Stories. Her first novel, Ugly Girls, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in November 2014. The Huffington Post called it “a story that hits a note that’s been missing from the chorus of existing feminist literature.” She is hard at work on her next collection and novel. Lindsay stopped by to read a brand new short story and chat with us about her upcoming conversation with Roxane Gay at the Chicago Humanities Festival. We also talked about the power of teen girls, the perils of “writing like a guy,” and her short-form approach to writing. In Lindsay’s words: “I really love sitting down and writing something completely in one sitting… sitting down and in one full breath, you’re telling this little morsel of someone’s life that gives you an indication of their entire life. I had a professor that told me to follow what I found fun, because that’s where the good stuff is, and it’s really fun to sit down and just follow it all the way to the end and be done with it. There’s an immediacy that I really appreciate about that.” Plus, we get the show started by talking about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s new project to “translate” Shakespeare’s plays. There was been quite a debate since the OSF recently announced that it has commissioned translations of all 39 plays into English that everyone can understand. We weigh in and, more importantly, share some really excellent internet comments.The post Episode 53: Lindsay Hunter, Plus Shakespeare Gets A Facelift first appeared on All Write Already!.
42 minutes | Oct 14, 2015
Episode 52 – Christine Sneed, Plus Where The Hell Have We Been?
credit: Adam Tinkham After our (longer than anticipated) hiatus, we’re finally, finally back with a brand new episode! Christine Sneed was one of our earliest guests (way back on Episode 9) and we were so pleased to have her back for a conversation about her new novel, Paris, He Said. Christine Sneed is the author of three books, the story collection Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry, and the novels Little Known Facts and Paris, He Said. Her stories have appeared in the Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, and New Stories from the Midwest anthologies. She has received the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award, Ploughshares‘ Zacharis Prize, the Grace Paley Prize, an O. Henry Award, and the Society of Midland Authors Prize for best adult fiction. She lives in Evanston, Illinois and teaches creative writing for Northwestern University and the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. We talked to Christine about power dynamics in romantic relationships, the financial realities of writing a successful book, and trying to write a book that she would want to read. In Christine’s words: “I really want a book that reflects human experience in a way that seems truthful. And often we don’t get answers… There are still a lot of questions, I think, that you’ll have when the book ends, because I don’t give you a lot of answers. But that’s just life, there’s not a lot of closure, despite the fact that we like closure.” Plus, we fill you in on what the hell we’ve been doing with our time for the last 7 months! Answer: traveling, moving, changing jobs, writing, and lots of reading. We discuss the books we’ve recently read by Celeste Ng, Helen Macdonald, Marlon James, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Roxane Gay. (And point out that listeners in Chicago can check out Marlon James, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, and more at the upcoming Chicago Humanities Festival.)The post Episode 52 - Christine Sneed, Plus Where The Hell Have We Been? first appeared on All Write Already!.
42 minutes | Mar 18, 2015
Episode 51 – Amina Gautier, Hulkamaniac
Today we’re making All Write Already! history with our first return guest! Amina Gautier won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction for her debut story collection At-Risk. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Antioch Review, Glimmer Train, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Southern Review, and StoryQuarterly. Gautier has been awarded scholarships and fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Illinois Arts Council, MacDowell Colony, Prairie Center of the Arts, Vermont Studio Center and Writers in the Heartland. We had so much fun talking to Amina way back on Episode 15 that we had to have her back for a conversation about her new short story collection, Now We Will Be Happy. The prize-winning collection about Afro-Puerto Ricans, US-mainland-born Puerto Ricans, and displaced native Puerto Ricans who are attempting to navigate the unique culture that defines Puerto Rican identity. We chatted with Amina about WWF wrestling, why her characters don’t drive, splitting her time between Chicago and Miami, and why writing fiction is more fun. In Amina’s words, “That’s one of the fun things about being a fiction writer. In real life, the only person you know is yourself. We have to piece together information all of the time. We don’t know our relatives – we know what we see, we know what they show us, we know what they say, but we’re not in their heads, we don’t know – and as a fiction writer I get to know everybody. I get to know what everyone thinks and feels. And then I get to decide how much of that information I’m going to let the characters have.” Plus, here’s an obligatory photo of Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan: The post Episode 51 - Amina Gautier, Hulkamaniac first appeared on All Write Already!.
44 minutes | Mar 4, 2015
Episode 50 – Cristina Henríquez, Plus What’s the Price of a Writing Career?
photo credit: Michael Lionstar It’s our 50th episode! We’re celebrating by talking to Cristina Henríquez, author of the story collection Come Together, Fall Apart, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, and the novels The Book of Unknown Americans and The World in Half. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The American Scholar, Glimmer Train, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, AGNI, and Oxford American, as well as in various anthologies. She lives in Illinois. If you’re in Chicago, you can catch Cristina at the Chicago Humanities Festival in conversation with Coya Paz on March 18th. We chatted with Cristina about why she is writing her next novel by hand, her badass grandfather, and writing on instinct. In Cristina’s words: “You’re anticipating the reader’s objections and responses to certain things as you’re going along. That’s part of it, but it’s also that you’re making these minute decisions which are subconscious – I’m not stopping and thinking each time I write a new sentence – I’m making them based on instinct. But the instinct comes from years of reading… After you read a lot you start to get a sense for what you like and the directions that you like when a story moves, and then you’ll start doing that naturally when you write.” Plus, we get the show started by talking about what a writing career actually costs. In a recent piece on Salon, writer Ann Bauer discusses her frustrations with writers who don’t acknowledge the luck and privilege that helped them to become successful. Bauer names the things that have allowed her to succeed (namely, that her husband supports her financially) and ends with a call for honesty in the literary scene. We ask ourselves why writers don’t want to acknowledge these advantages and think about the advantages in our own writing lives.The post Episode 50 - Cristina Henríquez, Plus What's the Price of a Writing Career? first appeared on All Write Already!.
54 minutes | Jan 14, 2015
Episode 49 – Jac Jemc, Plus Old Writing and New Regrets
Jac Jemc’s first story collection A Different Bed Every Time is newly out from Dzanc Books. Her novel My Only Wife was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award. Jac is the poetry editor for decomP and nonfiction editor for Hobart. In 2014 she was named as one of 25 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex. Jac stopped by to talk about fooling herself into writing, why she prefers to leave some questions unanswered, publicly sharing her rejections, and what draws her to work in different genres. In Jac’s words: “In fiction, you’re always trying to draw the parameters of what the world of the piece is and making all of it up as you go along, and so you want to make sure that everything is adhering to the logic that you’re creating within the story. But nonfiction allows for so much. You can just decide how many different strands you want to braid together and make it all come together in this really beautiful way… I think that’s what is exciting about nonfiction to me. The world doesn’t end. You can keep reaching farther and find all of these things that actually make sense together.” Plus, have you ever wondered how writers feel when they go back and read their early work? Back in December, the PEN American Center held an auction of 75 first-edition books, each of which was annotated by its author. The New York Times featured images from each of these books, as well as longer meditations by Philip Roth, Lydia Davis, George Saunders, Robert Caro, Marilynne Robinson, Jennifer Egan, and Junot Díaz on the experience of going back to re-read a book they had published years ago. Reading what these highly successful writers had to say about the works that, in many cases, got their careers going made us wonder what it would be like to return to our own early work. Since we have not been publishing for the last 50 years (like Philip Roth), this meant we had to return to work from an even more embarrassing time in our writing lives: college.The post Episode 49 - Jac Jemc, Plus Old Writing and New Regrets first appeared on All Write Already!.
11 minutes | Dec 23, 2014
AWA Bonus! 2014 Chicago Humanities Festival Recap!
The 25th Chicago Humanities Festival is now over! We saw so many things that made us smarter. After we saw the things that made us smarter, we cornered the presenters and performers and asked them to talk to us some more. On this bonus feature, you’ll hear from the likes of poet Anne Waldman, New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, and many more. Didn’t make it to the festival this fall? You can see videos of what you missed on CHF’s Youtube playlist. Also, the Humanities Festival just announced their winter programming, including events featuring authors Christina Henriquez and Dinaw Mengestu. Are you a young professional? Do you like talking to other smart people? Check out this discount ticket package (tix to events plus cocktail receptions).The post AWA Bonus! 2014 Chicago Humanities Festival Recap! first appeared on All Write Already!.
53 minutes | Dec 10, 2014
Episode 48 – Leslie Jamison, Plus The Most Notable Twitter Rant of 2014
photo credit: Colleen Kinder Today’s guest, Leslie Jamison is the author of a novel, The Gin Closet, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Prize, and an essay collection, The Empathy Exams, which was a New York Times Best Seller. Her work has appeared in the Believer, Harper’s Magazine, Oxford American, A Public Space, and Tin House. She is also a New York Times Book Review “Bookends” columnist. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is completing a doctorate at Yale University. Find her at www.lesliejamison.com or @lsjamison. When Leslie Jamison was in Chicago, Willy was out of Chicago, so we called in our friend and fellow writer Nathalie Lagerfeld to pinch-interview. Nathalie and Karen talked to Leslie about the symbiotic relationship between her creative and academic work, disagreeing with a previous version of herself, and defending the right to indulge. In Leslie’s words: “I really believe in the process of writing and thinking and feeling as a process of calibration and, at least for me, extending really far in one direction and pushing that limit and then coming back to another state, a kind of corrective state. So I think in defending going deep into sweetness or happiness or sadness, I understand each of those extreme states as a chapter in an unfolding process, rather than a permanent, monolithic state of being.” We also talked to Leslie about her multimedia longform piece 52 Blue, which you can read at The Atavist. Plus, it’s December, which means that year-end best-of lists abound. It can be a difficult time for writers with books that came out during the year – feelings can be hurt, egos can be bruised. Most writers suffer in silence, but last week Ayelet Waldman took to Twitter to vent when her novel was not chosen for the New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books of 2014 list. Waldman’s rant drew the ire of many readers and writers alike, but we try to see where she’s coming from. Is there any point to those year-end lists? How should writers handle criticism on the Internet? Leslie was in Chicago for the Chicago Humanities Festival. Full video of her event – a conversation with Jac Jemc – is available on CHF’s YouTube channel.The post Episode 48 - Leslie Jamison, Plus The Most Notable Twitter Rant of 2014 first appeared on All Write Already!.
42 minutes | Nov 25, 2014
Episode 47 – Rebecca Coffey, Plus How To Waste Time On The Internet
Today’s guest, Rebecca Coffey, is a novelist, science journalist, and humorist. She contributes regularly to Scientific American and Discover magazines. She blogs on assorted subjects including sexuality, relationships, social media, and psychology for Psychology Today, and is a frequent contributor to Vermont Public Radio’s drive-time commentary series. Her humor has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Rumpus and other literary magazines. Rebecca lives in Vermont. Rebecca was in Chicago promoting her novel, Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story, and stopped by for a chat on her way to Women & Children First Bookstore. We chatted about breaking the rules of journalism, Sigmund Freud’s favorite punch lines, and how she found a niche writing bizarre science stories. In Rebecca’s words: “Science writing is fun because the story isn’t always obvious. When you get an assignment, if you were just to come back with the facts, you wouldn’t get a second assignment. You really have to find the story that runs around the assignment.” Plus, we get the show started by talking about Kenneth Goldsmith’s new college course, titled “Wasting Time on the Internet.” Goldsmith and his students will spend three hours each week in silence, getting lost on the Web. Goldsmith’s aim is to recast the way we view our internet time – to see it as creative, even productive, rather than a waste. But if Web surfing is, as Goldsmith claims, a form of self-expression, we’re not sure we want to know what our Internet browser history has to say about us.The post Episode 47 - Rebecca Coffey, Plus How To Waste Time On The Internet first appeared on All Write Already!.
35 minutes | Nov 12, 2014
Episode 46 – Laila Lalami, Plus What Good Are Genres?
photo credit: Alexander Yera Today’s guest Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco. She is the author of the short story collection Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award, and the novel Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize long list. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Guardian, and The New York Times, and in many anthologies. She is the recipient of a British Council Fellowship and is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside. She lives in Los Angeles. We caught up with Laila to chat about the experience of writing her first novel in her third language, her rules for writers (hint: turn off the internet), and getting at the truth through fiction in her new novel The Moor’s Account. In Laila’s words: “It’s very interesting how people are reacting [to the book]. Some people are loving it because it is a different story, but some people are saying, ‘that’s not what really happened; you’re taking liberties with history.’ Well, what you don’t understand is that there is no history. There is only peoples’ versions of these events and we consider them to be history. It’s definitely been interesting in terms of the power of stories and the difference between history and literature. History is for the victors – and I guess literature is for the rest of us.” Plus, we kick off the show by talking about genre. Joshua Rothman’s recent New Yorker blog post got us thinking about the ways in which the genre classifications we use don’t actually tell us very much. Can we find a way to just talk about books, without judging each other? Laila was in Chicago for the Chicago Humanities Festival. The full video of her event – a conversation with Gina Frangello (our guest on Episode 33) – is available on CHF’s YouTube channel.The post Episode 46 - Laila Lalami, Plus What Good Are Genres? first appeared on All Write Already!.
78 minutes | Oct 15, 2014
Episode 45 – Eula Biss, Plus The 2014 Chicago Humanities Festival
Eula Biss is the author of three books: On Immunity: An Inoculation, Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and The Balloonists. Her essays have appeared in The Believer and Harper’s. Biss’s work has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, an NEA Literature Fellowship, and a Jaffe Writers’ Award. She teaches at Northwestern University and lives in Chicago. Eula chatted with us about being friends with a lot of writers, 50 pounds of vampire books, and why she doesn’t consider herself a journalist. In Eula’s words, “I am very self-consciously working from the personal essay tradition… Part of that tradition is a mandate to self-scrutiny and a mandate to self-reflection, and that appears sometimes in journalism, but there isn’t a mandate for that in journalism. I do feel like this book fulfills that mandate, that I enter almost all of my cultural critique through self-critique.” Plus, we’re getting pretty excited for the 2014 Chicago Humanities Festival. We sit down with Alison Cuddy, Program Director, and Corrina Lesser, Associate Director of Programming and Education, to talk about how the festival comes together and which events they are looking forward to. If hearing about giant pinhole cameras and dream machines doesn’t grab your interest, we also sit down with four Chicago writers who will be participating in the festival as interlocutors. Rebecca Makkai will be in conversation with Marjane Satrapi, John Rich will be talking to Colm Tóibín, Mark Bazer will interview David Greene, and Jac Jemc will appear with Leslie Jamison. We find out how they are preparing and what questions they are most excited to ask. (Eula will be appearing at the Humanities Festival on Saturday, October 25. If you’re in Chicago, be sure to check it out.)The post Episode 45 - Eula Biss, Plus The 2014 Chicago Humanities Festival first appeared on All Write Already!.
48 minutes | Oct 9, 2014
Episode 44 – Peggy Shinner, Plus “Non-Bro” Misogyny
Today’s guest, Peggy Shinner is the author of You Feel So Mortal / Essays on the Body (University of Chicago Press, April 2014). Her work has appeared in BOMB, The Southern Review, Colorado Review, TriQuarterly, Fourth Genre, Bloom, and most recently on Salon. Newcity, Chicago’s cultural weekly, named her one of the Lit 50 2014: Who Really Books in Chicago, and she has been awarded two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships and a fellowship at Ausable Press. Currently, she teaches in the MFA program at Northwestern University. As a trained martial artist, she taught Seido karate for seventeen years. Peggy came by to to talk about snooping around for family secrets, pushing the essay form to its limits, and what the practice of martial arts taught her about the practice of writing. In Peggy’s words: “I think that martial arts provided a model for discipline and for dealing with boredom, because martial arts is predicated on repetition. And in fact it’s through that repetition that you learn to love martial arts… There’s a phrase in our training: ‘striving with patience.’ You don’t ever want to get complacent and yet you don’t want your effort to be overcome by impatience either.” Plus, misogyny isn’t just for bros, anymore! We kick off the show by talking about the recently emerging stories of sexism, sexual assault, harassment and misogyny in the alt-lit world. A couple weeks ago, blogger and podcaster Ed Champion caused a real stir on Twitter when, seemingly out of nowhere, he very publicly threatened another writer. Since then, writers Tao Lin and Steven Tully Dierks have been accused of rape. In both cases, their alleged victims were younger, female writers. The stories have really blown up all across the interwebs, and one of the results is that a number of women involved in writing and publishing are coming forward to talk about similar situations where they’ve been assaulted, abused, threatened, or manipulated by male writers and editors (like in this great essay by Robyn Pennacchia about “non-bros”). This isn’t something that only happens in Brooklyn; it’s a cultural problem. So, what can we do about it? (Oh, and here’s that essay that makes Willy go into rant mode.)The post Episode 44 - Peggy Shinner, Plus "Non-Bro" Misogyny first appeared on All Write Already!.
43 minutes | Sep 24, 2014
Episode 43 – James Klise, Plus Millennials Really Do Read
We’re back from summer break! We’re tanned and ready to get back to a fall full of new podcasts. Okay, so maybe we’re not tanned, but we can’t think of a better way to kick off fall than with today’s guest, James Klise. Klise is the author of The Art of Secrets, which Booklist named to its 2014 list of Top 10 Crime Fiction for Youth. His previous novel, Love Drugged, was a 2011 Stonewall Honor selection, Lambda Literary award finalist, and added to the ALA Rainbow List. His short stories, personal essays and reviews have appeared in Story Quarterly, New Orleans Review, Southern Humanities Review, Ascent, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Readerville Journal and elsewhere. By day, James works as a high school librarian in Chicago. James stopped by to talk about running a book club for teenagers, plotting crimes with his sister, and how being a librarian has influenced his writing. In James’s own words: “I see how subjective reading is and how individual responses to texts are… And as a writer that is so reassuring, because you realize I don’t need to write a book that is going to please everybody. I only need to write a book that is going to please me and that book’s ideal readers.” Plus, we get the show started with some good news: Millennials don’t suck quite as much as everyone thinks! It turns out that Millennials read more books than people over 30. Add this news to research showing that kids actually read The Hunger Games before seeing the movie and the fact that Penguin is launching a publishing imprint with Cartoon Network, and it almost seems like books might not be dead yet.The post Episode 43 - James Klise, Plus Millennials Really Do Read first appeared on All Write Already!.
35 minutes | Jul 31, 2014
Episode 42 – Sum Sum Summertime Reading & Writing Review
We’re taking a summer break from our usual format to talk about what we’ve been reading on the beach (or, in Willy’s case, what he’s been reading everywhere but the beach). Karen has been busting through a summer reading list that includes Roxane Gay’s latest novel An Untamed State, Christina Henríquez’s The Book of Unknown Americans, and Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams. Meanwhile, Willy has taken some inspiration from Ira Glass’s life hacks, and claims to have plans to read Moby Dick (which is pretty ambitious, since Willy doesn’t actually know how to read). Plus, Karen and Willy jam about the writing projects they’re currently working (spoiler alert: they’re the same damn projects they’ve been working on for years) and the challenges they’re running into (spoiler alert: they’re the same damn challenges as they’ve always been). What’s on your summer reading list?The post Episode 42 - Sum Sum Summertime Reading & Writing Review first appeared on All Write Already!.
44 minutes | Jul 9, 2014
Episode 41 – Another Essay Fiesta For Your Ears
Summer has us in the mood to take a break from our usual format, so today we’re bringing you three stories from the other show we spend our time working on: Essay Fiesta! Regular listeners have heard us talk about Essay Fiesta, but for those who don’t know, Essay Fiesta is a monthly reading series that takes place at the Book Cellar, our favorite local independent bookstore. Seven readers perform first-person, non-fiction essays that make us laugh, cry, and feel all of the feelings. But the real reason we are there is to raise money for 826CHI, an awesome non-profit dedicated to working with students on their writing. We also featured Essay Fiesta stories on an episode back in December 2013, so consider these three readers a little bit of Christmas in July: Erin Kahoa has a passion for the theatrical. At the age of 25 he served as the Director of Theatre for a private University. Since moving to Chicago, Erin has utilized this passion in the art of live literature, garnering three Moth slam wins, two Write Club victories, and appearing as a featured performer in every major live lit show in Chicago. Erin is also the co-creator and producer of PleasureTown, a new story-based serial podcast coming out from WBEZ. An attorney and award-winning journalist, Randy Richardson was a founding member and first president of the Chicago Writers Association. His essays have been published in the anthologies Chicken Soup for the Father and Son Soul, Humor for a Boomer’s Heart, and Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year, as well as in numerous print and online journals and magazines. He is the author of two novels, Cheeseland and Lost in the Ivy, both from Eckhartz Press. Tania Richard is a writer and actress who has appeared on Broadway, with The Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre and a bunch of other places. She does film and tv, too. She is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and her plays have won fancy awards. She is published by Heinemann and has contributed to This Much Is True, That’s All She Wrote, and The Story on NPR. Her solo show Truth Be Told debuted at the Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre. Her blog is called Writing My Mind.The post Episode 41 - Another Essay Fiesta For Your Ears first appeared on All Write Already!.
46 minutes | Jun 26, 2014
Episode 40 – Miles Harvey on How Long Will I Cry?
Today’s guest, Miles Harvey, had so many great things to say that we decided to skip our usual top-of-show bantering in order to bring you an extended interview. Miles is the editor of a recently published oral-history collection, How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence, which the Chicago Tribune called “incredibly rich and compelling.” He wrote a play, also called How Long Will I Cry?, which premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre last year. His previous work includes Painter in a Savage Land and The Island of Lost Maps, a national and international bestseller that USA Today named one of the ten best books of 2000. A former Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan, he teaches at creative writing at DePaul University. Miles came by to read an excerpt from How Long Will I Cry? and to talk to us about about Studs Terkel’s hearing aids, bugging people into trusting him, getting called out by his students, and the way that stories often find him. In Miles’s words: “All writers my age who are having any success, I know the one common trait – and this is true of fiction writers, non-fiction writers, and poets – is huge curiosity, so that when you see a door half open you want to push inside and look in the room.” Want to read How Long Will I Cry? You can get a copy for free – all you have to do is tell Big Shoulders Books why you want a copy. The post Episode 40 - Miles Harvey on How Long Will I Cry? first appeared on All Write Already!.
53 minutes | Jun 12, 2014
Episode 39 – Johanna Stein, Plus Printers Row Lit Fest
Today’s guest, Johanna Stein, is a writer, producer, director, and actor. Johanna’s work has appeared on Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, PBS, CBS, HBO, The Oxygen Network, VH-1, The Disney Channel, and all across the World Wide Internets, where her comedy shorts, PSAs and Yahoo! web series “Life of Mom” have been viewed millions of times. In addition to her TV and film work, Johanna’s comedic essays on parenthood have been published in such outlets as The New York Times, Parents Magazine, and The Huffington Post. She lives with her family in Southern California. Johanna came to Chicago all the way from LA just for our interview! (Or maybe we just grabbed her when she was in town to promote her brand new book, How Not To Calm A Child On A Plane.) We chatted about being insulted by her preschooler, selling a copy of her book to Steve Martin, and how working on animated children’s shows made her a better writer. In Johanna’s words: “It’s basically storyboarding with words. I think as a writer who writes comedy and monologues and stuff to perform, you forget that stuff. I get very focused on the voice and the character and the head-space and I forget about the visuals. But a great cartoon you should be able to understand without dialogue.” Plus, we kick off the episode with a recap of the 30th Annual Printer’s Row Lit Fest. (You may remember we did a whole show on last year’s festival.) It was so much fun that we returned this year for the panels, readings, live lit performances, book signings, and the chance to buy really, really old books about James Garfield.The post Episode 39 - Johanna Stein, Plus Printers Row Lit Fest first appeared on All Write Already!.
42 minutes | May 29, 2014
Episode 38 – Jeff Miller, Plus YA Gets Green-Washed
photo credit: Brandon Dahlquist Today’s guest, Jeff Miller is an expert-level jaywalker from Kent, Ohio, and is a top scorer in coffee drinking. Jeff regularly performs at live lit events all over Chicago. His first novel, The Nerdy Dozen, will be out in June. Jeff stopped by our studio to talk about putting his writing in the microwave, why you really should not set a book in space, and revising until your eyes want to bleed. In Jeff’s own words: “There’s so much ego managing. You have sentences that you love or you spend so much time on this weird little idea and then… you have to remove it and just keep going. But it’s kind of like spring cleaning, in a way. I used to get defensive about it, but you just have to be like: okay, sweet, I’ll find something better.” Plus, we kick off the show with a look at the way the world of YA often gets divided into two camps: “supernatural books,” like Twilight, and “realistic books,” like those by John Green. Anne Ursu points out that this kind of thinking hurts the genre and hampers diversity.The post Episode 38 - Jeff Miller, Plus YA Gets Green-Washed first appeared on All Write Already!.
37 minutes | May 15, 2014
Episode 37 – Angela Narciso Torres, Plus You’re Really Not That Busy
Angela Narciso Torres’s first book of poetry, Blood Orange, won the 2013 Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry. Recent work appears in Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, and Cream City Review. A graduate of Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Angela has received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, Ragdale Foundation, and Midwest Writing Center. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she currently resides in Chicago, where she teaches poetry workshops and serves as a senior poetry editor for RHINO. Angela stopped by to talk about writing while driving, her mother’s memory, and what Carl Jung taught her about poetry. In Angela’s words: “Poetry is also a kind of play, and is a way through the unconscious. And that playfulness and that search for metaphors, for images that will bear the weight of human experience – of anything, really – I think that’s what we strive for in poems. We look for the images that will bear the weight of things that we never thought could be held in such a small place.” Plus, we get things started by taking a break from our busy schedules to talk about how damn busy we are. Bragging about how busy you are on social media may be even more fun than posting pictures of your dinner, but recent articles on Slate and Ploughshares point out that we all have a lot more time than we’d like to admit. And if you’re a writer, all of that acting busy might be taking the place of actual productivity.The post Episode 37 - Angela Narciso Torres, Plus You're Really Not That Busy first appeared on All Write Already!.
46 minutes | Apr 23, 2014
Episode 5 – Samantha Irby, Plus The Secrets of Successful Blogs
For today’s show, we’re reaching into archives again to bring you an interview with Samantha Irby. When we talked to Sam, it was way back in 2012, and she had only recently started working on her book. That book became Meaty, which came out last fall from Curbside Splendor, and it has been hugely successful. You should go buy it and then laugh out loud while reading it in public. Samantha Irby is a writer and performer who mostly makes jokes about hot dudes, diarrhea, kittens, and magical tacos on the internet at bitchesgottaeat.com. In addition to co-hosting The Sunday Night Sex Show and Guts & Glory, she has performed at Essay Fiesta, Write Club, This Much is True, Grown Folks Stories, The Paper Machete, and Story Club, among others. She opened for Baratunde Thurston during his “How to Be Black” tour. She has been profiled in the Chicago Sun-Times as well as in Time Out Chicago, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus and Jezebel. Samantha writes a comedy advice blog with Ian Belknap at irbyandian.com. Samantha came over to talk to us about Civil War reenactments, adult diapers, and the pitfalls of writing humor. In Samantha’s own words: “When you write jokes, people forget that you’re a person… maybe not a person, but a sensitive person. And I think a lot of people who write jokes are super-sensitive people.” And we start the show by dissecting a few of our favorite blogs to find out what makes them so freaking popular. Listen as we uncover the secrets of Hyperbole and a Half, 27bslash6, Wipe Your Feet, and The Forest For the Trees.The post Episode 5 – Samantha Irby, Plus The Secrets of Successful Blogs first appeared on All Write Already!.
46 minutes | Apr 9, 2014
Episode 36 – Kate Harding, Plus Our Best Worst Writing Advice
Today’s guest Kate Harding is a co-author of The Book of Jezebel and Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere and author of the forthcoming Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture–And What We Can Do About It. As a freelance writer, Kate has published work in outlets including Salon, Jezebel, The Guardian, The L.A. Times and the New York Daily News. As a Chicagoan who loves to hear herself talk, Kate has read pieces in The Sunday Night Sex Show, The Encyclopedia Show, Funny Ha-Ha, That’s All She Wrote, and Women of Letters. Kate stopped by to talk about internet trolls, letting go of a fan base that wasn’t ready to let her go, and writing to change her readers’ minds. In Kate’s words, “I’ve always just felt that, for me, as long as I’m transparent about my biases and cite my sources and check my facts, I don’t feel any obligation to pretend to be objective. Honestly I think that most people writing “objectively” are not. I think that even when you’re showing both sides of the story it will be clear which way you’re sort of steering it. And that’s always been part of the conversation.” Plus we get the show rolling with a look at writing advice. There’s no such thing as too much good advice. Or bad advice. The literary magazine Short Stops asked writers to share the worst well-intentioned writerly advice they’d ever received. Of course, one person’s bad advice is another person’s best advice ever. Our conclusion: if you can fit it on a bumper sticker, it’s probably not very helpful.The post Episode 36 - Kate Harding, Plus Our Best Worst Writing Advice first appeared on All Write Already!.
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