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The Lit Show » Podcast
25 minutes | Oct 21, 2015
#101: Ryan Berg
Ryan Berg discusses No House to Call My House: Love, Family, and Other Transgressions, his book about LGBTQ youth in New York City Homeless Shelters.
26 minutes | Sep 28, 2015
#100: Celeste Ng
On this Lit Show, Celeste Ng discusses her novel Everything I Never Told You--a deftly-navigated examination of the permutations a family can take, and the unspoken histories that can define a family’s future. Everything I Never Told You is a New York Times bestseller and has been named a best book of the year by numerous outlets. Celeste Ng grew up in a family of scientists in the Midwest. She received an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her work has appeared in OneStory, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, and the Kenyon Review Online. She has also won a Pushcart Prize. Ng lives in Massachusetts.
22 minutes | Sep 20, 2015
#99: Steven Pinker
Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker on 21st-century grammar, why Strunk and White is obsolete, and the need for a style manual for the future.
36 minutes | Apr 1, 2014
#97: Leslie Jamison
Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams, discusses her new essay collection. Interview by Gemma de Choisy.
45 minutes | Mar 26, 2014
#96: David Lazar
David Lazar, author of Occasional Desire, discusses his nonfiction and transgeneric work. Interview by Gemma de Choisy.
57 minutes | Nov 25, 2013
#95: Book Country
This episode features Brandi Larsen, Director of Book Country, a website run by the publisher Penguin Random House. Book Country is an online community where writers connect, workshop, and publish original work. Imagine a LinkedIn for publishing-minded people: alongside credentials and publication credits, writers can read and critique one another’s works-in-progress. Book Country also helps writers with the publication process, with a free service that makes a finished manuscript available through all the major e-retailers, or paid services that include proofreading, formatting, and cover design. Finally, the site helps book professionals discover new voices: on Book Country, agents and editors look for promising manuscripts to publish traditionally. Self-published E-books have become a big business, as anyone who’s heard of Fifty Shades of Grey knows. This hour, we talk about self-publishing, Book Country’s place in the e-book landscape, and what the site's growth might mean for readers and writers.
74 minutes | Nov 19, 2013
#94: Andre Dubus III
Andre Dubus discusses his collection of long stories, Dirty Love, with Joe Fassler.
58 minutes | Nov 10, 2013
#92: Don Waters
(http://www.litshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/cover_don_waters-200x300.jpg) On this episode of the Lit Show R. Clifton Spargo speaks to Don Waters, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was an Arts Fellow, about his debut novel Sunland. Waters is also the author of the story collection Desert Gothic, which won the Iowa Short Fiction Award. His short fiction has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and anthologized in Best of the West and New Stories from the Southwest. A frequent contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, he’s written for the New York Times Book Review, The Believer, Slate, and Outside. The hero of Sunland, Sid Dulaney, is a thirty-something drifter on a mission to care for a sickly grandmother, his only real family, but Sid finds himself acting as a small-time drug mule to keep up with her retirement expenses. Though he runs mostly prescription meds and a few opiates from pharmacies in Nogales across the border and sells them to American retirees, he fears he’s in too deep and tries to hand off the business to a friend. Thereafter the fatalistic combination of misfortune, misguided advice from friends, and some well-timed coercion from a few cartel-connected types catches him up in a haphazard human trafficking scheme. The ensuing misadventures expose the often absurdist politics presiding over the borderlands between the Southwest United States and Mexico. Robert Boswell calls Sunland “a seriously comic novel about the expense of good intentions in the twenty-first century.” Complete Episode
49 minutes | Sep 8, 2013
#89: Natalie Brown
Author Natalie Brown discusses her novel The Lovebird in an interview with Gemma de Choisy.
33 minutes | Sep 8, 2013
#88: Geoffrey G. O’Brien
A discussion with poet Geoffrey G. O'Brien, author of People on Sunday. Interview by Alex Walton.
43 minutes | May 6, 2013
#87: Bennett Sims
(http://www.litshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/cover_sims1-201x300.jpg)On this Lit Show, Bennett Sims discusses his debut novel, A Questionable Shape. Set in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, A Questionable Shape rejects the splatter and kitsch of typical genre fare in favor of meditations on the nature of consciousness and loss. It’s a zombie novel where the zombies appear only at a distance and pose little danger to Mazoch and Vermaelen, two friends who drive around the city every day, searching for an undead father and waiting for the coming hurricane to hit. With nods to Hamlet and Orpheus (not to mention Tarkovsky and Wittgenstein), Sims’s novel is a learned debut informed not just by erudition, but by nature, desire, and the persistence of memory. Wells Tower writes: “Bennett Sims is a writer fearsomely equipped with an intellectual and linguistic range to rival a young Nabokov's, Nicholson Baker's gift for miniaturistic intaglio, and an arsenal of virtuosities entirely his own. A Questionable Shape announces a literary talent of genre-wrecking brilliance.” Sims’s fiction has appeared in A Public Space, Tin House, and Zoetrope: All-Story. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he currently teaches at the University of Iowa, where he is the Provost Postgraduate Visiting Writer in fiction. Complete Episode
58 minutes | May 6, 2013
#86: R. Clifton Spargo
On this episode, Deborah Kennedy interviews R. Clifton Spargo, author of Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. The book delves deeply into the final moments of one of America’s most storied couples as they take a last trip together to Cuba in 1939. At this pivotal time in world history, Scott and Zelda are experiencing internal wars of their own and what begins as a vacation ends.
48 minutes | Apr 17, 2013
#85: Lucas Mann
Stepping up to the plate on this episode of The Lit Show is Lucas Mann with his acclaimed debut, Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere. Mann’s book chronicles a year in the life of a minor league baseball team in Clinton, Iowa. Beyond the lives of the LumberKings themselves, Mann investigates the dedicated fans, family members, radio announcer, mascot, and the town itself as seen through the eyes of a transplant who keeps finding himself drawn back to the game, whether at Yankee Stadium or in Clinton’s Depression-era field by the Mississippi River.
29 minutes | Apr 8, 2013
#84: Elizabeth Strout
On this Lit Show, Susannah Shive interviews award-winning author Elizabeth Strout. Strout is the author of the novels Amy and Isabelle and Abide with Me, the short-story collection Olive Kitteridge, and the forthcoming novel The Burgess Boys. Her education includes degrees in English and law as well as a class in stand-up comedy, which she undertook as a response to writer’s block. She lives in Maine and New York City and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Olive Kitteridge won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction; The New Yorker wrote in its review that Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force.”
60 minutes | Apr 8, 2013
#83: Vivian Gornick
(http://www.litshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/gornick_index_745.jpg) Unparalleled in her unflinching candidness, Vivian Gornick renders the political as personal and shows the self to be a mirror of the culture that made it. “Gornick is fearless,” Elizabeth Frank writes in The New York Times Book Review. “Reading her essays, one is reassured that the conversation between life and literature is mutually sustaining as well as mutually corrective.” Best known for her acclaimed 1987 memoir, Fierce Attachments, and her work with The Village Voice, Gornick is also a frequent contributor to The Nation, The Atlantic, and The New York Times. She is the author of more than a dozen other books and essay collections, including The End of the Novel of Love, Essays in Feminism, and The Men in My Life, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Gornick teaches creative writing at The New School in New York, NY. Her most recent book, Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life, is out now from Yale University Press, and her essay “Letter from Greenwich Village” can be found in the 60th anniversary issue of The Paris Review (Spring, 2013). Gornick will be reading from a selection of her work at Prairie Lights in Iowa City on Monday, April 8, at 8:00pm. Complete episode
57 minutes | Apr 5, 2013
#82: Mary Jo Bang
(http://www.litshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/mjb_index_745.png) On this Lit Show, Mary Jo Bang discusses her new book, an irreverent translation of Dante's Inferno, aptly titled Inferno. Mary Jo Bang is the author of several books of poetry, including Elegy, for which she won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2007. Her most recent book is an audacious, pop-culture-laden, interpretive translation of Dante's Inferno, which is being heralded by critics like Adam Fitzgerald of The Brooklyn Rail: "Though no Italian scholar proper, Bang is, however, one of the most wonderfully disturbing and haunted poets of our time...she has attempted to rethink, relive, and re-envision a 21st century Inferno." Bang is currently a Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis. Interview by Micah Bateman. Complete audio transcript (http://www.litshow.com/2013/10/21/82-mary-jo-bang-interview-transcript/). Excerpts Complete Episode
48 minutes | Apr 2, 2013
#81: Roxane Gay
(http://www.litshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/index_gay_7451.png) (http://www.litshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/index_gay_image.png) On this Lit Show, Roxane Gay discusses her prolific body of work, the perils of frequent publication, and her two upcoming books: a novel, An Untamed State, and essay collection, Bad Feminist. It would be hard to keep up with the online literary world and not be constantly running into Gay’s byline. She is everywhere. Her heavily anthologized fiction and essays have appeared in VQR, American Short Fiction, McSweeney’s, Melville House, mud luscious, The Indiana Review, and dozens of other venues. Her criticism appears in the New York Times and on the Wall Street Journal's website, where she reviews and live-blogs reality TV, including and especially ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. She is a frequent contributor to HTMLGIANT, Salon, Bookslut, and The Rumpus, where she is the essays editor. She is also the co-editor of [PANK] Magazine. Gay’s works have earned her fourteen Pushcart nominations the last three years. She is, in other words, one of contemporary literature's most prolific voices, and she is this year’s Writer-in-Residence at the Mission Creek Festival taking place from April 2 - April 7 in Iowa City. Unsurprisingly, she maintains an active online presence, tweeting here (https://twitter.com/rgay), and blogging on tumblr (http://roxanegay.tumblr.com/) and on her website, I Have Become Accustomed to Rejection (http://www.roxanegay.com/). Interview by Ben Mauk. Excerpt Complete Episode
54 minutes | Mar 27, 2013
#80: Russell Jaffe
(http://www.litshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/index_jaffe_7451.png) On this Lit Show, Russell Jaffe discusses his new book, participatory poetry, small presses, the 2013 Mission Creek Festival, and building a community around art. Jaffe is an artist, poet, teacher, event organizer, and all-around participator. His debut collection, This Super Doom I Aver(http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=thlish065-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1937202062), is a collection of self-described “Mad Libs poems” that are designed to be co-written by and with their reader. Despite Jaffe’s claims that “our new history is avant-doom,” CA Conrad calls the book “anything but a place where we are doomed. It's house of Magic!!” Jaffe is also the founder and editor of Strange Cage (http://strangecage.org/), the small press and long-running poetry series that returns to Iowa City on April 15. His poems appear all over the Internet and are forthcoming in [PANK] and H_NGM_N. He has exhibited found sculptures made from discarded video game systems. He teaches poetry workshops in and around Iowa City. He holds an MFA from Columbia College Chicago. He loves professional wrestling in what appears to be a sincere way. His work is riotously fun, doggedly unpretentious, and [________]. Interview by Ben Mauk. Excerpt Complete Show
49 minutes | Mar 17, 2013
#79: Terry Tempest Williams (3-12-2013)
On this Lit Show, co-host Gemma de Choisy speaks with Terry Tempest Williams about her memoir When Women Were Birds. Williams is the author of fourteen books, including Leap, Refuge, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, and the essay collection, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert. She is a frequent contributor to Orion Magazine and is a columnist for The Progressive. The current Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah, Williams splits her time between Castle Valley, Utah, and Moose, Wyoming.
26 minutes | Mar 17, 2013
#78: Lawrence Weschler
On this Lit Show, Ben Mauk speaks with acclaimed writer Lawrence Weschler, who was for more than twenty years a staff writer at The New Yorker. Weschler is the author of eleven books, including Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders, which was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, and most recently Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative. He has taught at Princeton, Columbia, Bard, Vassar, Sarah Lawrence, NYU, and his alma mater, Cowell College of the University of California at Santa Cruz.
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