Elizabeth Brundage photographed by Elena Seibert.
The origin of Elizabeth Brundage’s fearsome fourth novel, All Things Cease to Appear, is a crime that happened over two decades ago.
A woman was murdered with her young daughter in the house. “My husband was in training at the time—he was a resident [physician]—when I heard about it, and our first daughter was three,” Brundage says. “And I thought, ‘Oh my god!’ I couldn’t imagine if I was murdered and my little girl was running around ...
Theresa Rebeck photgraphed by Monique Carboni.
“I heard from editors early on that I, quote unquote, ‘lean on my dialogue,’ ” says third-time novelist Theresa Rebeck, “—and I thought, why, yes, I do. You would, too, if you were me.”
You’d do well to: Rebeck is the author of more than a dozen plays produced in New York City, on Broadway and beyond, including “Omnium Gatherum,” which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She’s the award-winning TV writer (“NYPD Blue”) who created the ...
Amy Gustine photographed by Patrick Gustine
Write what you know? Amy Gustine rejected that age-old approach years ago.
“After my early-to-mid 20s I completely jettisoned that advice,” says Gustine, author of the debut short story collection You Should Pity Us Instead. “I find it to be just incredibly restrictive and to go against the spirit of why we write and why we read.
“I was reading something in the New York Times recently, by Roy Scranton, and he said the more perspectives we learn to ...
Chris Offutt photographed by Sandra Dyas
When it came to titling his latest memoir, Chris Offutt went with the main thrust: My Father, the Pornographer.
“It was just called ‘Dad Book’ for a long time, as its working title—I had tons of titles that were awful. I’m not the greatest title inventor,” says Offutt, whose debut story collection, Kentucky Straight, was named by his college roommate. (A canny editor titled his first memoir, The Same River Twice.)
“With a book, I work on it, I ...
Alexander Chee photographed by M. Sharkey
For all that is unknown of Lilliet Berne—her origins, her allegiances, her real name—there’s one indisputable fact: she has a once-in-a-generation voice. In Alexander Chee’s sophomore novel, The Queen of the Night, the tragic soprano narrates her legendary life, beginning with two memorable entrances to the Sénat Bal at Luxembourg Palace, Paris, in the warm autumn of 1882.
“Lilliet Berne, La Générale, newly returned to Paris after a year spent away, the Falcon soprano whose voice was so delicate it ...
Maria Konnikova photographed by Margaret Singer and Max Freeman
Maria Konnikova wasn’t born yesterday. She’s a successful journalist with a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University and the author of 2013’s Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, a New York Times bestseller. And yet, while watching the David Mamet film House of Games with her husband, she found herself identifying with a character who becomes the mark in a big-time con.
“Here’s a woman who’s kind of like me—she’s intelligent, skeptical, savvy,” Konnikova says. “She has ...
Helen Ellis photographed by Michael Lionstar
When Helen Ellis was in the eighth grade in Alabama, an algorithm determined she was destined to become a writer. Or, you know, something like it.
“When I was in the eighth grade in 1983, we were all doing the What Color Is Your Parachute? what-you-should-be test, and my result was I should be a writer or a mortician,” Ellis says. “I’m creative and I enjoy being alone, which also makes me a really good housewife.”
Today, Ellis ...
Sunil Yapa photographed by Gilbert Chong
When tens of thousands of people took to the Seattle streets to protest the globalization of corporate capitalism, Sunil Yapa was there in spirit.
“I was completely engaged on an intellectual level,” says Yapa, who was a Penn State undergraduate when the “Battle of Seattle” raged downtown during the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1999. The highly organized peaceful protest was met by Seattle Police with pepper spray, tear gas, stun grenades and mass arrests—tactics that ultimately led ...