Suspend Your Disbelief

Margaret Lazarus Dean


Margaret Lazarus Dean is the author of The Time It Takes to Fall (Simon & Schuster, 2007). She teaches writing at the University of Tennessee and lives in Knoxville. She wishes she had been the one to write Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, and Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson, but sadly, others got to them first. Visit her website at


Essays |

The Long Hard Slog: From the 2010 AWP Panel “From MFA Thesis to First Novel”

“When I was asked whether I’d be interested in taking part in a panel on turning the MFA thesis into a first book, I said yes right away, but I wasn’t sure what I could contribute. In fact, I felt like a bit of a fraud because my journey from the thesis to the published book was so long and roundabout. But I’ve convinced myself that this is part of what makes my story worth telling here, because long and roundabout might be just as common as quick and straightforward, and my particular kind of roundabout experience makes me feel emboldened to give certain bits of advice.”

Interviews |

Type type type: A Conversation with Mimi Smartypants

I don’t generally read personal blogs, partly out of an allergy to the twee self-consciousness that so easily results from self-chronicling. But when I stumbled across Mimi Smartypants’s diary a few years ago, I found that I was looking at something different from the typical navel-gazing blog. Rather, what I experience sometimes when I read her diary is that strange phenomenon that first brought me to fiction as a child, and has kept me here all these years.