Quips on our radar
Margaret Atwood at the NBCC awards in March; photo courtesy of Marisol Diaz.
“When I did this research I was surprised by, wherever I looked, there were more drugs to be found. Drugs of all colors, shapes, and sizes...except marijuana. Nazis did not smoke weed. Other than that, they were really going for it.”
—Norman Ohler, author of Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich,in conversation with Dan Piepenbring of the Paris Review at NeueHouse Madison Square
“If you mean a novel in which women are human beings—with ...
Barry Lyga photographed by Devon John Photography.
What’s Barry Lyga’s secret to writing books teen readers love?
“I don’t write for teens,” says the New York Times bestselling author of I Hunt Killers. “That’s my secret—I write about teens.
“I’m aware that my books are published as YA,” he continues, “and I love that, and there’s a magic to having teenagers tell you a book of yours has changed or saved their life....Teenagers are still in that molten lava stage, where the right book ...
Dani Shapiro photographed by Kwaku Alston.
Over the course of a year, Dani Shapiro committed countless hours to “The Virtual Dementia Tour,” a personal essay contending with her “obsession” as a writer: memory and time.
“I had struggled with it, finally cracked it, and was feeling really good about what I’d written,” says the acclaimed memoirist and novelist, whom Kirkus reached by phone at home in Connecticut.“Then I woke up the next morning in a state of horror, with the realization that it ...
Reporting from the National Book Critics Circle Awards
NBCC president Tom Beer
“I do think there’s a bottom line to writing. What a writer is supposed to do is pay attention....Paying attention is the only thing that guarantees an insight, and it’s the only real weapon we have against power because we can’t fight the things you can’t actually see.”
—Michelle Dean, recipient of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing
“Let us be fierce and dangerous about the truth. Let it come out of us, let it pour ...
Anastasia Higginbotham photographed by Joan Beard.
When my grandmother watched me after school, I had to learn about sex the old-fashioned way: from Golden Girls reruns.
But the beautiful child in author-illustrator Anastasia Higginbotham’s Tell Me about Sex, Grandma is in luck. When called upon to hold forth on the birds and the bees, Grandma delivers loving and informative answers with ease.
“It’s a thing with bodies,” Higginbotham writes in Tell Me about Sex, Grandma. “Moving so it feels good. By yourself or with someone ...
When Sara Zarr assessed her storied career in YA fiction (six books, seven years), she noted a trend in upward mobility.
“With each book, the characters got more and more middle- to upper-middle-class, which was not my background,” says Zarr, who grew up in San Francisco and lives in Salt Lake City. “That’s been the story of my life, starting out in an impoverished situation and then, gradually, changing—significantly, in my adulthood, with my writing career becoming more stable ...
Lamar Giles photographed by Adrienne Giles.
Lamar Giles knows how to write fun, feisty, and fully realized female protagonists.
In Overturned, poker prodigy Nikki Tate lives in a Las Vegas casino, kicks butt on and off the soccer field, and cunningly pursues a murder suspect the police don’t seem to want to find.
“The key—and this is the approach the first time I wrote a female character—is not to think of it as a thesis on what girls are,” says Giles, who Kirkus reached by ...
Catherine Burns photographed by Aly Nicklas.
To make it to the oratorical Valhalla that is The Moth Mainstage, you’ve got to have bravery, vulnerability, and a hell of a story to tell. You absolutely cannot have that story printed on sheets of paper.
“People wanted us to do a book for a long time...but I was a little bit reluctant because it’s The Moth—our storytellers are not allowed notes,” says Catherine Burns, artistic director of The Moth, the acclaimed, not-for-profit, live storytelling organization founded ...