Claire Vaye Watkins photographed by Heike Steinweg
Born in the Owens Valley, an arid region east of the Sierra Nevada that was notoriously tapped for water by William Mulholland in the early 1900s to build the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Claire Vaye Watkins recognized one glaring hole with her portrayal of the West in her critically acclaimed debut collection of stories. “When I finished Battleborn, I had this nagging feeling that I hadn’t actually written about the American West at all because I hadn’t written about water,” ...
September 25, 2015
Jessa Crispin photographed by Chuck Kuan
“For years I kept blogs, and there was always a line of privacy I did not cross,” says Jessa Crispin, the founder and editor in chief of Bookslut.com. “Nobody I ever dated got acknowledged, and half the time I was super cagey about where in the world I was—like if I was traveling, I would never mention I was traveling. I’m incredibly private, so it was an arm’s-length kind of thing.”
September 11, 2015
Margaret Eby photographed by Nick Russell
Margaret Eby, a Southerner turned New Yorker, was always fascinated by the authors of her home region. When her parents moved to Jackson, Mississippi, the hometown of Eudora Welty, she learned of a different kind of South—a place teeming with the legend of one of its most famous residents. Following a warm response to an article she wrote for The Paris Review Online about the restoration of Eudora Welty’s garden, Eby decided to continue exploring the stomping grounds of other ...
The amazingly prolific novelist, memoirist, screenwriter, and young adult author Alice Hoffman confesses to having lost count of the number of books she’s penned. But after finishing her latest work—her 35th, The Marriage of Opposites, she’s accounted for the emergence of an unshakable theme.
“The last three books that I’ve written are in a way about women who are unable to tell their stories,” says Hoffman. “Women telling stories is such an oral tradition and so often things don’t ...
With recent headlines such as: “Fresno Man Beats Wife, Abducts 2-Year-Old Over Instagram Selfies,” it’s no wonder Fresno is not affectionately thought of as California’s heartland. Although this Central Valley city has much to offer, like its Mediterranean climate, novelist Katherine Taylor, who grew up in Fresno and whose parents still reside there, has a complicated relationship with her hometown. “While other people speak of such fondness and affection for their hometown, I feel like I grew up ...
A dispatch from this year's Associated Writing Programs conference.
April 17, 2015
Graywolf Press' event with Eula Biss, Leslie Jamison, Maggie Nelson, and Claudia Rankine was packed. Photo by AWP/Robb Cohen Photography.
The annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference hit Minneapolis this past week. Addressing North America’s largest literary conference, the mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, turned out to welcome attendees at Thursday’s keynote with a sincere rally cry for more poetry in her administration—her love for literature went so far to include an admission that she has written an unpublished YA novel. Before Karen Russell took the stage to deliver the actual keynote address, Mayor Hodges brought attention ...
Jill Alexander Essbaum photographed by Megan Sembera Peters
“Why don’t you write me a trashy book and make us all rich?” Jill Alexander Essbaum’s late father used to tease. Although she certainly didn’t have her father in mind while writing the steamy sex scenes of her captivating debut novel, Hausfrau, she has him to thank. Her father’s Sidney Sheldon and Harold Robbins books piqued her early interest in bawdy subjects.
Hausfrau follows the carnal wreckage of a tired housewife, Anna Benz, an American expat living in a ...
February 18, 2015
Stephanie Kegan photographed by Lesley Bohm
What happens to your quiet suburban life when it comes to light that your brother is a terrorist? That question painstakingly unravels throughout Stephanie Kegan’s riveting new novel, Golden State, as it follows Natalie Askedahl, the level-headed narrator who suddenly suspects her estranged brother Bobby of being a serial bomber in the likes of Ted Kaczynski. Although the real life story of the Unabomber—who was also identified and turned in by a sibling—is an undeniable influence on this high-stake work ...
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