Bethany Barton photographed by D'Avello Photography.
If Bethany Barton were a spider, she knows exactly which species she’d be.
“Definitely the peacock spider: he’s colorful, he’s fuzzy, he does a little dance,” Barton says by phone from L.A. “Have you ever seen a peacock spider dance?! You have to go to YouTube right now. It’s cool—I’ll hold.”
(She’s serious. Go click on “Peacock Spider Dances to YMCA” right now. It’s incredible.)
“Right?! It’s maybe the happiest thing in the world. He’s ...
Julia Pierpont photographed by Shiva Rouhani.
Julia Pierpont’s Among the Ten Thousand Things opens with a letter to a wife from her husband’s lover.
“I began sleeping with your husband last June. We were together for seven months, almost as long as I’ve known him,” Pierpont writes. “We did it in my apartment. Or I went to his studio, a lot. One time at the Comfort Inn in midtown, last August. He used his Visa. Look it up.”
The twisted missive accompanies ...
Naomi Jackson photographed by Lola Flash.
Novelist Naomi Jackson leads a hyphenated life: Caribbean-American. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised by West Indian parents—mom from Barbados, dad from Antigua, stepmom from Jamaica—in the predominantly West Indian neighborhoods of Flatbush and Crown Heights. And yet, frequent trips to visit the Caribbean were considered “going home.”
“This question of home is one that’s haunted Caribbean people for a long time, since so many have had to seek their fortunes outside of where they first ...
Emily Mitchell photographed by Britt Olsen-Ecker.
Emily Mitchell is the author of Viral. But who is Emily Mitchell, really?
“Emily Mitchell has worked as a waitress, a receptionist at a bakery/tanning salon, a short-order cook, a snowmobile driver, a crime-scene cleanup technician, an exotic animal trainer, a war correspondent, a phone dispatcher, a secretary, an environmental campaigner, a freelance journalist, a bean counter and a holistic pediatric oncologist,” Mitchell writes in “Biographies.”
“Biographies” isn’t her biography, but one of a dozen delightfully diverse ...
Mia Alvar photographed by Deborah Lopez.
You’d be hard-pressed to guess where Mia Alvar hails from based on her itinerant debut. In the Country’s stories are set in the Philippines, Bahrain, and New York: all places its author has called home.
“I do tend to feel like a sort of observer, at a remove, in any one of those places,” says Alvar, who resists claiming full “New Yorker” status, despite living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “That was part of the attraction for ...
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 ...