Monday, April 14, 2014
John Updike is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature. Adam Begley talks about his biography of the Updike—a candid, intimate, and richly detailed look at his life and work. Updike explores how Updike’s fiction was shaped by his tumultuous personal life—including his enduring religious faith, his two marriages, and his first-hand experience of the “adulterous society” he was credited with exposing in the bestselling Couples.
Friday, March 21, 2014
For the past four years novelist David Bezmozgis has been writing a book set in Crimea. His forthcoming novel, The Betrayers, was intended to be set in August 2014, but that isn't possible now. Brooke speaks with Bezmozgis, as he sits between manuscript lock and book release, about trying to adjust his fictional story set in a fraught, factual place.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Olivia Laing examines the link between creativity and alcohol in the work and lives of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver, who were all alcoholics. In The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking, she takes a journey from Cheever’s New York to Williams’s New Orleans, from Hemingway’s Key West to Carver’s Port Angeles, to piece together a map of alcoholism, a disease that has also affected her own family.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Ann Patchett examines her deepest commitments—to writing, family, friends, dogs, books, and her husband. She creates a portrait of a life in This is the Story of a Happy Marriagethat begins with her childhood, covers disastrous early marriage, a later happy one, and examines her relationships with family and friends and the joy of writing.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Poet Richard Blanco talks about delivering the inaugural poem at President Obama’s second inauguration in January 2013. In For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journal, he reveals the inspiration and challenges—including his experiences as a Latino immigrant and gay man—behind the creation of the inaugural poem, "One Today," as well as other poems commissioned for the occasion.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Most of us these days don’t bother with writing letters—instead we send updates on social media, or write to each other in short texts. How are Facebook and Twitter affecting our writing? For younger people who are still learning their language skills along with these technologies, is their writing better or worse for the experience? English teacher Jessica Lahey of New Hampshire believes that writing skills are being eroded by things like Facebook. English teacher Andrew Simmons of California says he sees his student's writing improving from social media.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Daniel Menaker discusses beginning his career as a fact checker at The New Yorker in 1969. He was promoted to editor and he stayed at the magazine for another 24 years. InMy Mistake: A Memoir, he portrays life in that wonderfully strange place and beyond. He offers wry, hilarious observations on publishing, child-rearing, parent-losing, and the writing life.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Acclaimed Czech writer Ivan Klima reflects back on his life and on decades of war, totalitarianism, censorship, and the fight for democracy. Klíma’s memoir My Crazy Century begins in the 1930s on the outskirts of Prague. During WWII, most of his family survived the Terezín concentration camp, but when they returned home, their city was falling into the grip of Communism.
Monday, October 21, 2013
What are your favorite books/who are your favorite authors?
The library is too big for favorites. Recently I have enjoyed Donna Tartt's new novel, John Ralston Saul's Voltaire's Bastards, David Graeber's Debt, Chris Adrian's The Children's Hospital.
What authors or works do you think are underappreciated or overlooked?
The Great Australian writer Helen Garney. Go out and buy The Spare Room now.
Do you have any writing rituals or habits? Where, when, and how do you write?
Clean teeth. Put on shoes. Make coffee. Write with my nose.
Do you have favorite or least favorite words? What are they and why?
MBA words of any sort—incentivise for instance. Ultilitarian, ugly words like "de-glove."
Are there certain kinds of characters or stories you’re drawn to in your own work?
Obsessive people, angry people, anyone with dangerous levels of energy.
What's the last great thing you read/saw/listened to?
Rachel Kusher's The Flame Throwers.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
By Brian Lehrer : Host, The Brian Lehrer Show
I recently got a chance to speak at the presentation of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, put on by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Here are my remarks, with advice for writers young and old.
I was asked to choose some words of advice to give to young writers. I have three words: write, rewrite and stop.
If you want to make it at something, do it all the time. If you love to write and want to be a writer, write along with your life. Write about the mundane things that happen in your day and you'll wind up finding meaning in them that you didn't know was there until the writing made you start to think. I sometimes tell people I think with my fingers, meaning give me a keyboard, any keyboard, when I want to really think something through. So write along with your life. Then write about things outside your life.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
John O’Hara is the most-published short story writer in the history of The New Yorker, and he’s seen as an American master of realism. Two new editions of his work have been published—The New York Stories, collected for the first time, and his popular novel BUtterfield 8. Steven Goldleaf, professor of English literature at Pace University and the author of John O’Hara: A Study of Short Fiction, and Lorin Stein, editor of the Paris Review, John O’Hara’s work and style.