Kate Walbert photographed by Deborah Donenfeld.
Kate Walbert’s The Sunken Cathedral is an undulating novel. Its vignettes follow various characters as they grapple with the anxieties of modern life in Manhattan and the fluctuations that climate change thrusts upon them. Perspectives shift, time skips, and readers must bob their eyes to retrieve significant treasures submerged in footnotes.
Though Walbert initially resisted using the device, “they really insisted on themselves,” she says. “Footnotes felt right and felt true, because they somehow do reflect that fractured consciousness ...
Sophie McManus photographed by Jason Mones
Sophie McManus has perfect pitch for the icy tones of the idle rich.
In an early scene in The Unfortunates, aging heiress Cecilia “CeCe” Somner addresses catering staff aboard a hired yacht:
Bartenders, we will not serve anything with a straw. Mr. Antonopoulos. I am glad to see we no longer have the scuffed-shoe problem of our last engagement. I know there is a tendency to let off steam when you think you are amongst yourselves. I am not a ...
Stevie Phillips photographed by Daryl Edelstein
At a time when most women in show business were secretaries or script-readers, Stevie Phillips became a talent agent. Eventually, she headed the theater and motion picture departments at über-agency CMA (now ICM). Her A-list clientele included Liza Minnelli, Robert Redford, Al Pacino, Paul Newman, David Bowie, Bob Fosse and Cat Stevens.
But as her debut memoir Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me... makes plain, addiction threatened her success at every turn—even though ...
Peter Nichols photographed by Adrian Kinloch
Peter Nichols literally shipwrecked. Hollywood bigwigs optioned screenplays of his that were never produced. Love came and went. And when he submitted a draft of The Rocks, a novel quite unlike the bestselling nautical nonfiction he’s known for (A Voyage for Madmen, 2001; Evolution’s Captain, 2003, etc.), his longterm literary agent left him.
“Bad things don’t happen to writers; it’s all material,” Garrison Keillor said—and The Rocks is so much richer for the delectable allusions to its author’s adventuresome ...
Margaret Lazarus Dean photographed by Christopher Hebert
Whether you’ve dreamed of donning a bright white suit for a zero-gravity spin, or simply stayed tuned to a shuttle launch on TV, Margaret Lazarus Dean will reignite your enthusiasm for American spaceflight.
“... I want to write about those places where the technical and the emotional intersect—like the smell of space, or the schoolchildren watching Challenger explode with a teacher aboard, or an adult woman hiding her tears in the cathedralic heights of [NASA’s] Vehicle Assembly Building, or a ...
Barry Estabrook photographed by Kathleen Frith-Glynwood
As the author of Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit and, now, Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat, it appears Barry Estabrook is one exposé shy of taking down BLTs once and for good.
“You’re not the first one to observe that I have the makings of a trilogy,” jokes Estabrook, who’s the most affable award-winning investigative journalist I’ve ever met.
Estabrook won two James Beard Foundation Awards for food writing and ...
Elizabeth Alexander photographed by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
For the cover of The Light of the World: A Memoir, poet Elizabeth Alexander chose one of many hundreds of paintings by her late husband, Ficre Ghebreyesus. The buoyant abstract is titled “Solitary Boat in Red and Blue.”
“I chose that particular painting because I think there’s something that is haunting about it,” she says. “The boat is alone. There’s nobody in it. It’s an unpeopled picture. The boat is going somewhere. Maybe it’s going from one station ...
Emily Schultz photographed by Brian Joseph Davis
In The Blondes, a novel by Emily Schultz, a contagious disease afflicts only flaxen-haired females. Prior to death, victims of Siphonaptera Human Virus (SHV), popularly known as “Gold Fever” or “California Rabies,” are highly prone to violent attacks.
“ ‘Save it, Burroughs! Her brain’s bleached. She can’t hear you,’ ” one police officer shouts to another at John F. Kennedy International Airport, while subduing a flight attendant. The woman attempted to maul a toddler.
The airport scene ...