Six Questions for Marina Budhos
Author of Watched
Marina Budhos will join us at the Center this spring for a KidsRead event with high school students to discuss her award-winning Watched, a novel set in Queens about survelliance, immigrants and the issues facing Muslims in America. In this interview, we sat down with Marina to talk with her about writing for teenagers and adults, seeing her book turned into theater, and what she loves to read.
Peter Constantine Talks to Judy Sternlight
Here translator, editor, and director of the Literary Translation Program at the University of Connecticut, Peter Constantine talks to editor Judy Sternlight about translation and its rise in popularity. The two of them worked together on several projects for The Modern Library including The Essential Writings of Machiavelli, a finalist for the PEN Translation Prize.
The author of Secret Saturdays joined us for a KidsRead event to talk to seventh grade students from The Renaissance Charter School and the Ascend Charter School. We decided to keep the questions for Torrey going and ask him about juggling his life as a writer and a teacher.
As part of our KidsRead program, author Sofia Quintero visited the Center to talk about her book Show and Prove with students from The Academy for Young Writers. We asked Sofia a few questions about how she got her start writing for teens, using technology to connect with readers, and how she addresses social issues in her writing.
David L. Ulin
Writer and book critic David L. Ulin discusses his book Ear to the Ground with our website editor Kristin Henley. Originally published as a serial novel in The Los Angeles Reader in the 90's, the book has recently been released by Unnamed Press. Here, Ulin discusses co-writing the novel with Paul Kolsby, serial novels as an art form, and the thrilling nature of earthquakes.
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Viet Thanh Nguyen won the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize for his debut novel, The Sympathizer. Here, he talks to our Executive Director, Noreen Tomassi, about developing the narrator's voice, American literature on the Vietnam War, and the risks he took in his novel.
On February 11, violin-viola duo andPlay performed a concert inspired by The Borrowers for our “Notes on Fiction” series, where local ensembles curate concerts that inspired by fiction. Their concert featured contemporary classical music by young, up-and-coming composers. We sat down with andPlay to talk music, books, and snacks, which seem to be an essential part of their creative process!
Noreen Tomassi talks to the winner of the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize talks about her social responsibility as a writer from the Virgin Islands, our current dystopia, her greatest influences, and more. READ MORE
Tracy Young interviews the author of five novels, most recently Bohemian Girl, named one of the ten best 2012 Westerns by Booklist, five books of poetry, and a memoir Black Glasses Like Clark Kent that won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, about writing, workshops and the expectation of miracles. READ MORE
Stefan Merrill Block interviews Scribner editor Liese Mayer about "demystify[ing] the dream of turning a manuscript on a hard drive into an actual published book".
Noreen Tomassi talks to the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Winner about growing up in the segregated South, seeking out the truth of her ancestors, writing through her fears and doubts, learning about African wisdom, and bringing her novel to completion. READ MORE
Matt Nelson talks with the author of Mundo Cruel about why he doesn't want to become the next Bolaño, how journalism helps his fiction, the brilliance of the Telenova, being a drama queen, and the one thing that keeps him from writing.
Dawn Raffel talks with the iconic agent about Kerouac and Kesey, the thrill of discovery, and why physical books matter.
On May 15, 2013 the legendary James Salter joined Center Director Noreen Tomassi for a live interview about his novel, All That Is. Salter was the author of the novels Solo Faces, Light Years, A Sport and a Pastime, The Arm of Flesh (revised as Cassada), and The Hunters; the memoirs Gods of Tin and Burning the Days; the collection Dusk and Other Stories, which won the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction; and Last Night, which earned him the 2010 Rea Award for the Short Story. READ MORE
Noreen Tomassi talks with the winner of the 2012 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel prize, about Cowboys football, the war in Iraq, being the Imelda Marcos of books, and his long gestation as a writer. READ MORE
Lynne Sharon Schwartz
MaryAnne Kolton talks with Baxter about creativity, craft, and crisis. READ MORE
John Wray talks with the author of The Vanishers about alternate universes, psychic warefare, Susan Sontag, and The Hunger Games.
Dawn Raffel talks with the CEO of Audible about the future of technology—and the non-future of the middleman. READ MORE
Noreen Tomassi talks with the author of Lamb about her experience as a debut novelist and the strong reactions of readers. READ MORE
Richard Ford and Joyce Carol Oates
Dawn Raffel talks with the literary maverick about wonder tales, Scheherezade, post-9/11 dystopias, and Picasso's response to cave paintings. READ MORE
Stefan Merrill Block
Noreen Tomassi engages the author of The Storm at the Door in a discussion on becoming a writer, memory, and maladies of the mind. READ MORE
Dawn Raffel talks to the author of The Magic of Saida about travel and exile, unfashionable subjects, and the moral responsiblity to tell the truth. READ MORE
A dialogue with Dawn Raffel on the significance of pen names.
" had an assignment from a magazine where the editor said, 'The theme of this issue is secrets. How can you apply that to literature?' So my mind went to pseudonyms, and I wrote a small piece. After the assignment, I had a mountain of research left over and I wanted to keep going...." READ MORE
In advance of her appearance as part of the Center's Crime Fiction Academy, the legendary crime writer talked to Dawn Raffel about taking the midlife risk to become a writer, parsing the news, and keeping a crime fiction series vital.
I think it’s extremely difficult for anyone to attempt to establish themselves as a fiction writer, although in my case the prosecutorial ‘day job’ made it far easier. Most people have no idea that from my adolescence on, I dreamed of being a writer." READ MORE
The Swedish crime writer discusses her second novel, The Preacher.
"Ever since I was a child, I have been interested in the darker sides of humanity, and I have read tons and tons about crimes, psychology, and forensics. So I do believe I have quite an in-depth knowledge of forensics, even though I’m not an expert...." Read MOre
Dawn Raffel talks to the author of Say Her Name about grief, desire, and the need to put it on the page.
"I began without even thinking about genre. But that meant: If you’re not really thinking about genre, you’re already in the terrain of a novel because you’re not imposing that strictness on yourself..."
Meg Pokrass talks to Abbott about teenage demons, sexual awakenings, and the making of her new novel.
"As a kid, one of my favorite novels was Lois Duncan’s Daughters of Eve, the tale of a dangerously charismatic teacher. And I was particularly interested in the way, for young girls in particular, it can feel like a crush...."
Maura Kelly talks to the groundbreaking feminist critic about constraint, decorum, freedom, madness, and the popularity of Jane Austen.
"My sense is that what today's young female writers are doing is so varied that I am unwilling to generalize. But until quite recently, such magnificent writers as Margaret Atwood and Toni Morrison continued to work with the themes and motifs Susan Gubar and I long ago discerned: constraint vs. freedom, decorum vs. madness—in other words, the psychological consequences of the exploitation or oppression of women...." Read More
Dawn Raffel talks to Susan Orlean about her book Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend.
"He had charisma, coupled with a vulnerability that is entirely credible in a dog and not so credible in a human. And because he wasn’t human, we aren’t tempted to react to him with all our own opinions and judgments. He was a hero who might also lick your hand and sleep at the foot of your bed: a combination that made people fall in love with him." READ MORE
The editor of My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales discusses fairy tales with writers Kevin Brockmeier, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Timothy Schaffert, and Maria Tatar. Read More
A discussion on genre-hopping, boundary-free editing, and the necessity of virtuoso grumbling.
"From the beginning, I wanted to write short stories; Hemingway, Wolfe, Maugham—these were my early cup of tea—and later Updike and Salinger and even Roth...." READ MORE
The author of There is No Year answers three questions on influence and aesthetics.
"I would say I’ve been influenced by the hole behind my face and by my mother and by itchy skin and not being able to sit still..."READ MORE
A conversation with Alessandra Farkas on Holocaust writing, literary influence, and the great American novel.
"Yet it will never be possible — it has never been possible — to escape the effect of this mammoth atrocity of the Twentieth Century, which has changed the world forever. Changed the world forever, you may ask, when time obliterates nearly everything?..." READ MORE
The celebrated author speaks with Noreen Tomassi about dislocation, relocation, writing about the history of China, and being inspired by Jewish and Irish writers.
"I don’t feel the obligation to represent China, but I would hate to misrepresent it. I’m a fiction writer; it’s very hard not to make up things. But I think that the historical period has to be right, has to be accurate, in so far as I can do that...." Read More
The renowned short story writer talks with Literarian editor Dawn Raffel.
"I love short stories—reading them, thinking about them, talking about them. Writing them is another part of that pleasure. I think the pleasure doesn’t fade because while I’m writing a story I live in it. It’s a journey on which I meet interesting people—and pay no travel expenses." Read More