“This silent generation absorbed all the hardships of the early Soviet years and preferred to remain silent in order to protect us. Now we want to make sense of all that on our own. I want to tear through this veil of silence.”—Guzel Yakhina, whose widely acclaimed debut novel, Zuleikha, a “story of love and friendship on the brink of death in Josef Stalin's camps,” will be published in English this March (ABC News)
“Being immersed in writing prose for the first time in my life, I was trying to teach myself how to tell a story in clear language without being distracted by the kind of details I’d historically put into a song. Those details don’t tend to move the narrative forward but paint a more vivid picture. You don’t need as much of that when you’re writing prose, because sometimes it’s at the expense of the overall story coming across clearly.”—Jeff Tweedy, Wilco frontman and newly minted memoirist, discusses Let’s Go (So We Can Come Back) in Variety
“I wanted a Jamaican woman in Jane Austen territory. I wanted to see what would happen to someone like Frannie making her presence felt in these sophisticated Georgian drawing rooms....[A]ll we’re doing with historical fiction is imagining what people might have said if they’d been able to speak for themselves.”—Sara Collins, whose debut novel, The Confession of Frannie Langton, “the story of a former slave from a Jamaican plantation accused of the murder of her master and mistress, in whose London home she is employed as a maid,” was named one of 2019’s hottest debuts by the Guardian
“It was only when I was on the phone with the funeral director out in Los Angeles, asking him to dig my mother up, burn her up and send her to me, that I thought to myself, ‘You’re behaving weirdly now. Perhaps you should start taking notes.’ ”—Kathryn Harrison, who recently published her fifth memoir, On Sunset, in “This Is the Story of My Life. And This Is the Story of My Life,” a consideration of serial memoirists by Henry Alford in the New York Times
Megan Labrise is the staff writer and co-host of the Kirkus podcast, Fully Booked.