From the Archives: The title of Jim Shepard’s 2011 collection, You Think That’s Bad, could also be a creative mantra. Here the veteran writer discusses his research process, the apocalyptic state of the world, the (possible) irrelevancy of literature to the apocalypse, his epic mustache—and other matters of importance.
“We read a ton of bad writing on the Internet, and I think people are content with low quality until they are shown something better”: Zan Romanoff with Emma Gordon on getting paid for your work, the 2016 election, and her debut novel, A Song to Take the World Apart.
“By mid-career, Richard Russo, always a spellbinding natural storyteller, had written and read his way (he is a voracious reader) to a technical mastery enabling him to create, in his small towns, complete artistic universes.”
Ellen Prentiss Campbell on Anne Tyler’s newest novel: “Some fault her for sentiment or repetition, some find her characters too similarly marked by eccentricities of behavior and occupation. But others, like myself, believe authentic sentiment gets a bad rap, and recognize her people. Behind the public curtains, whose family, what profession, isn’t a little odd?”
“. . .these two groups of women are indeed sisters under the skin, and these authors are sisters as well.” Ellen Prentiss Campbell on connecting Nesbit and Otsuka through their use of first-person plural.
“I heard Marilynne Robinson say once that “we can never escape the landscape of our preoccupations.” I was struck by that phrase and I think of it all the time, the landscape of our preoccupations. I feel liberated by it.”
In her latest collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove (Knopf), Russell traffics in her now-trademark wit. In eight tightly drawn stories, she imagines fantastical worlds that stem from the bleakest realities.
Our new feature is Alix Ohlin‘s most recent collection, Signs and Wonders (Vintage), which was simultaneously published last month with her new novel, Inside (Knopf). Additionally, she is the author of the novel The Missing Person (Knopf, 2005) and the collection Babylon and Other Stories (Knopf, 2006). Her work has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and Best New American Voices, and has also appeared on public radio’s Selected Shorts. Born and raised in Montreal, she currently lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, and teaches at Lafayette College. She is also on the faculty of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for […]