Photo courtesy Ellen Warner
Culinary historian Laura Shapiro hungers for the delectable details of people’s lives—no matter their competence in the kitchen.
“I have always felt very strongly that you don’t have to be a food person—that is to say, an instinctive wonderful cook—to have a relationship with food,” says Shapiro, author of What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories. “If you can look at food in someone’s life, you can find out something [significant] about that ...
To many Americans, the plight of refugees can seem remote—until you find their boat.
Middle-grade novelist Alan Gratz was vacationing in the Florida Keys when his family discovered an abandoned escape raft during a walk on the beach.
“It was clearly a raft from some other place in the Caribbean, trying to get to America,” says Gratz, whom Kirkus reached in North Carolina. “It was a stunner to me and my family...realizing, here we are, having this comfy ...
Rachel Ignotofsky photographed by Thomas Russell Mason IV.
August 6, 1926 was a bad day for a swim between England and France: the water was choppy; it started to rain; and the strong current was against Gertrude Ederle, a 19-year-old long-distance swimmer from New York City. Nevertheless, she persisted, becoming the first woman to swim the English Channel and setting a new world record (14 hours, 31 minutes) that stood for 24 years.
“Women [like Gertrude Ederle] pushed themselves to the limit for all womankind,” says Rachel ...
Photo courtesy Kaliel Roberts
For bestselling novelist Andrew Sean Greer, Less represents a grand departure in more ways than one.
“I was writing another book that was my typical style,” says the author of five preceding fictions, including The Path of Minor Planets and The Confessions of Max Tivoli, “sort of poignant, sort of wistful. And I was getting nowhere with it, because I couldn’t feel sorry for the main character.”
The main character was a middle-aged gay man on ...
Quips on our radar
Kwame Alexander photographed by Portia Wiggins
“She eats it out of a bag. She eats it at night. She makes sandwiches with it....Will she eat all 1,079 pages of the beloved postmodern saga of addiction, tennis, pop culture, and lust? You can follow her progress via the hashtag #eatinfinitejest...” —Clayton Purdum reports at the A.V. Club on comedian Jamie Loftus’ goal to slowly eat the entirety of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest
“Good things will happen. Like sometimes you’ll spend ...
Photo courtesy Erin English
The inspiration for Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Karen English’s latest middle grade novel all comes down to one unforgettable quote.
“We had a housekeeper,” says English, who was born in 1954 and grew up in Los Angeles, “and she pulled me aside one day, when I was about nine, and told me that, if I ever went to Africa, the Africans would kill me, because they didn’t like, in her words, ‘no light-skinned negroes.’
“I didn’t ...
Photo courtesy Ryane Rice
Gin Phillips had no intention of writing summer’s most scintillating literary thriller.
“I wanted to write a book about motherhood,” Phillips says of Fierce Kingdom, the story of a mother and four-year-old son trapped in their local zoo by an active shooter event.
“I was aware it was a faster plot than I normally focus on,” she says, “and I loved the idea of having to tell a story within such tight confines, where there’s literally geographic walls ...
When 13-year-old Sophie LeClerq puts together a look, people notice: she’s the prettiest girl in her Park Slope class. Her African-American mother is a fashion journalist, her French father sends designer clothes, and she incorporates their influences into an eclectic style that shines.
In Chapter 1 of Justin Sayre’s middle-grade novel Pretty, Sophie rocks an Old Navy V-neck with a skirt from Milan, low tops with low socks, and a green rock necklace with white-lace Madonna gloves.
“I know ...