J. Ryan Stradal photographed by Anna Pasquarella.
When J. Ryan Stradal set out to write the book he wanted to read, he didn’t consider his current home for its setting. Instead, he took a hiatus from his job as an L.A.-based supervising producer on shows like Storage Wars and Deadliest Catch to revisit the communities and cuisines of his upbringing, about 2,000 miles northeast in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest is the result: a delectable debut garnished with ...
Paula McLain photographed by Nina Subin.
It took just one paragraph of Beryl Markham’s memoir, West with the Night, for Paula McLain to realize this was the woman she’d been waiting for.
“Immediately, I got this electric response to her voice,” says McLain, author of Circling the Sun, “and I read it deeply, knowing I was going to channel her.”
McLain (The Paris Wife, 2011) stopped work on a novel about Marie Curie to begin one on Markham, a famous horse trainer and record-setting ...
Ben Marcus photographed by Chris Doyle.
“A short story works to remind us that if we are not sometimes baffled and amazed and undone by the world around us, rendered speechless and stunned, perhaps we are not paying close enough attention,” Ben Marcus writes in the introduction to New American Stories, a statement on stateside short fiction circa 2015.
With this, Marcus, a well-known formal practitioner (Leaving the Sea, 2014; The Age of Wire and String, 1995) and professor of creative writing at Columbia University ...
Annie Liontas photographed by Sara Nordstrom.
“What do we owe our father?” is the first question asked in Let Me Explain You. That it is posed by the father, Stavros Stavros Mavrakis, to his children, via the email address SteveStavrosStavrosMavrakisgreekboss1@yahoo.com, provides a perfect introduction to the robustly mustachioed patriarch anchoring Annie Liontas’ shining debut.
“Dear, Family. Daughters & Ex-Wife: Let me explain you something: I am sick in a way that no doctor would have much understanding. I am sick in a way ...
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 ...