Between The Covers : Conversations with Writers in Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry

Between The Covers : Conversations with Writers in Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry

tinhouse.com/podcasts
David Naimon, Tin House Books, KBOO 90.7FM


Tin House Live : Readings : Garth Greenwell, Michelle Tea, Kaveh Akbar
Oct 16 • 59 min
Recorded at the 2019 Tin House Summer Writers Workshop at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, today’s episode is a medley of readings from three different nights. Garth Greenwell reads from his upcoming novel Cleanness (FSG January 2020), Michelle Tea from…
Rob Schlegel : In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps
Oct 2 • 121 min
“Rob Schlegel has a voice you’d follow into the dark woods, knowing full well it’s hard, awful, daily, plain, living truth you’re running toward. The speaker in this book is a heartbreaker of a storyteller—a synesthesiac of mixed feelings, bad news, and…
Tin House Live : Revision Panel : R.O. Kwon, Karen Shepard, Danielle Evans, Jamel Brinkley
Sep 25 • 48 min
“Finding the Life of the Story: Vision & Revision” was recorded at the 2019 Tin House Summer Writers Workshop. Panelists Karen Shepard, Danielle Evans, R.O. Kwon and Jamel Brinkley talk strategies to draft and revise. Moderated by David Naimon, host of…
Xuan Juliana Wang : Home Remedies
Sep 18 • 91 min
“Filled with characters who mirror the chaos and anxiety, exhilaration and despair, desire and fear of the world around them, Home Remedies offers searing portraits of millennial Chinese immigrants… . Wang’s shimmering words offer proof that even the most…
Ayşe Papatya Bucak : The Trojan War Museum
Sep 4 • 103 min
“These are stories that reflect the author’s Turkish heritage and a curiosity about our human search for meaning as profound as it is lyrical. The stories are music. They beguile and illuminate with narratives about yearning and desire, circumstance and…
Brandon Shimoda : The Grave on the Wall
Aug 15 • 109 min
“If someone asked me what a poet’s history might look and read like, I would say Brandon Shimoda’s The Grave on the Wall. It is part dream, part memory, part forgetting, part identity. It is a remarkable exploration of how citizenship is forged by the…
Elvia Wilk : Oval
Aug 1 • 101 min
“J. G. Ballard meets William Gibson meets Jeff VanderMeer. Oval is an up-to-the-minute story about the twilight zones of corporate design, aesthetics, pharmacy, and bioengineering, where there’s nothing consultants won’t break in the quest for…
Max Porter : Lanny
Jul 15 • 110 min
“In Lanny Max Porter has expanded on his innovative hybrid mode while remaining faithful to our species-wide tradition of storytelling through myth, magic, and parable, but also through the harrowing minutiae of being alive in the trying hours of a small…
Ted Chiang : Exhalation
Jul 1 • 70 min
“Ted Chiang has no contemporary peers when it comes to the short story form. His name deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Carver, Poe, Borges, and Kafka. Every story is a universe. Every story is a diamond. You will inhale Exhalation in a…
Miriam Toews : Women Talking
Jun 11 • 94 min
“An astonishment, a volcano of a novel with slowly and furiously mounting pressures of anguish and love and rage. No other book I’ve read in the past year has spoken so lucidly about our current moment, and yet none has felt as timeless; the…
Sophia Shalmiyev : Mother Winter
Jun 3 • 109 min
“Shalmiyev stubbornly, brilliantly pursues loss in this psycho-geography of immigration, grief displacement, and damage. A mother herself, Shalmiyev’s narrator channels the ghosts of Dorothy Richardson, Anaïs Nin, Frances Farmer and the sad, bad stories…
Morgan Parker : Magical Negro
May 14 • 117 min
“Morgan Parker’s latest collection, Magical Negro, is a riveting testimony to everyday blackness… . It is wry and atmospheric, an epic work of aural pleasures and personifications that demands to be read—both as an account of a private life and as searing…
Cristina Rivera Garza : The Taiga Syndrome
Apr 30 • 105 min
“If The Taiga Syndrome is a book of illness, it’s also about exile, disappearance, borders, love, language and translation, desire, capitalism and its discontents, fairy tales, and what it means to be possessed by the madness of others and the madness of…
Lacy M. Johnson : The Reckonings
Apr 15 • 110 min
“Through prose that is at once passionate and percussive, Lacy Johnson’s The Reckonings demands that we place justice and discovery at the center of our conversations, memories, imaginations, and art. I don’t know that I’ve ever been happier to be alive…
Christine Schutt : Pure Hollywood
Apr 1 • 99 min
“Nobody writes like Schutt … and her latest collection is the perfect entry point for readers new to her work … In each of the collection’s 11 stories, Schutt gives readers dissipated women staggering to the brink of sanity, desperate men with foggy…
Mitchell S. Jackson : Survival Math
Mar 18 • 102 min
“A vibrant memoir of race, violence, family, and manhood … Jackson recognizes there is too much for one conventional form, and his various storytelling methods imbue the book with an unpredictable dexterity. It is sharp and unshrinking in depictions of…
Marlon James : Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Mar 4 • 82 min
“Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the kind of novel I never realized I was missing until I read it. A dangerous, hallucinatory, ancient Africa, which becomes a fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made, with language as powerful as Angela…
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore : Sketchtasy
Feb 12 • 109 min
“Sycamore paints an unsparing and unsentimental portrait of survival in a homophobic era, and her writing is beyond beautiful. Sketchtasy is a powerful firecracker of a novel; it’s not just one of the best books of the year, it’s an instant classic of…
Alicia Jo Rabins : Fruit Geode
Feb 1 • 99 min
“How does a body do what it does: make love, mistakes, create life, exist after life; how does a body evolve, celebrate, regret, reconsider its big and small moments: these are the passionate concerns of Alicia Rabins’ Fruit Geode, a book that I could not…
Genevieve Hudson : Pretend We Live Here
Jan 13 • 92 min
“A terrific collection of stories. There are echoes here of Flannery O’Connor, Barry Hannah, and Denis Johnson, but Genevieve Hudson is her own writer—impressively and gloriously so. Her eye for the clinching detail is unnerving and her sympathies are…
Jeffrey Yang : Hey Marfa
Jan 2 • 98 min
“Yang rebuilds for the reader a town that is notable for its many stark contrasts: restored & ruined buildings, wealth & poverty, international art & border enforcement. Hey, Marfa makes a remarkable poetic accounting of the ways imagination is currently…
Chaya Bhuvaneswar : White Dancing Elephants
Dec 17, 2018 • 110 min
“Bhuvaneswar is unflinching about the lives of those for whom identity is a constant battle & the act of being is an unavoidable challenge, but she doesn’t ignore the beauty in their strength … White Dancing Elephants is a necessary book — & one that…
Layli Long Soldier : Whereas
Dec 2, 2018 • 113 min
“Long Soldier reminds readers of their physical and linguistic bodies as they are returned to language through their mouths and eyes and tongues across the fields of her poems.”—Natalie Diaz for The New York Times Book Review “Layli Long Soldier’s…
Diane Williams: The Collected Stories of Diane Williams
Nov 14, 2018 • 74 min
“Williams’s short precise, & emphatic sentences build a strange society whose denizens are not quite familiar to us & not quite comfortable with their own quietly disturbing evolutions. Not a single moment of the prose here is what you expect, & even the…
R.O. Kwon : The Incendiaries
Nov 1, 2018 • 71 min
“Every explosive requires a fuse. That’s R. O. Kwon’s novel, a straight, slow-burning fuse. To read her novel is to follow an inexorable flame coming closer & closer to the object it will detonate—the characters, the crime, the story, &, ultimately, the…
Tommy Pico : Junk
Oct 14, 2018 • 79 min
“Reading Tommy Pico’s Junk I kept thinking of Heather McHugh’s pronouncement that the main discipline of poetry is “to keep finding life strange.” Pico is the master of making the stone stony, or returning the sheer absurdity of being to everything, from…
Dubravka Ugrešić : Fox & American Fictionary
Oct 1, 2018 • 105 min
Dubravka Ugrešić is considered one of Europe’s most distinctive novelists and essayists. She is the 2016 winner of Neustadt International Prize for Literature for her body of work, joining literary luminaries from Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Elizabeth…
Anna Moschovakis : Eleanor or The Rejection of the Progress of Love
Sep 24, 2018 • 111 min
“Anna Moschovakis takes the reader straight to the terrifying edge: that moment where one ages out of youthfulness & begins to flutter in the debris of middle living, flattened out by technology, wild-goose chasing one’s data. Yet, the deeper we look into…
Dao Strom : You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else
Aug 22, 2018 • 115 min
In Dao Strom’s collection of poetic fragments, You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else, translated by Ly Thuy Nguyen as Mình sẽ luôn là người nọ đến từ nơi nọ, the fragments are wholly filled—with text: English, Vietnamese, drifting, entwined,…
Catherine Lacey : Certain American States
Aug 7, 2018 • 89 min
“Lacey captures with eerie precision the strangeness of being a person in the world, living alongside other human beings with unknowable thoughts and feelings … Reading Lacey’s fiction feels like walking through a dark apartment in someone’s mind, full of…
Forrest Gander : Be With
Jul 19, 2018 • 85 min
“Forrest Gander’s life partner, the poet C.D. Wright, died suddenly a little more than two years ago, and this book is one result or record of the aftermath of that loss. In poems that are utterly naked and bereft, elegies, apologies, could-have-beens,…
Chelsea Hodson : Tonight I’m Someone Else
Jul 6, 2018 • 86 min
“Hodson’s essays have such a sexy drama to them—and ultimately it’s the romance of just getting through life; the passion that comes from being a wholly alert woman and living to tell about it. I had a real romance with this book.”—Miranda July “Chelsea…
Molly Crabapple : Brothers of the Gun – A Memoir of the Syrian War
Jun 12, 2018 • 97 min
“From the anarchy, torment, and despair of the Syrian war, Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple have drawn a book of startling emotional power and intellectual depth. Many books will be written on the war’s exhaustive devastation of bodies and souls, and the…
Sheila Heti : Motherhood
Jun 1, 2018 • 88 min
“This book is going to change how we think about life and women forever; like ancient Greek philosopher level of describing reality in a way that creates it. So, go or don’t go, read the book or don’t—either way your life will be changed by this thinker.…
Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi : Call Me Zebra
May 15, 2018 • 97 min
“Not many authors are compared to Borges, Cervantes, and Kathy Acker all in one breath, but that is exactly what we’re dealing with here: Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is a twisted, twisty genius.”—Nylon Magazine “Van der Vliet Oloomi captures the…
Jen Bervin : Silk Poems
May 1, 2018 • 93 min
“Jen Bervin’s work—all of it—engages the eye, the hand, the ear, and the mind. Her artistry is vast and inclusive, by finesse and intelligence, by curiosity, forbearance, and vision. She knows the unexpected wonder of pattern is everywhere and that the…
Cheston Knapp : Up Up Down Down
Apr 10, 2018 • 98 min
“Cheston Knapp’s Up Up, Down Down has the uncanny, welcome ability to make so-called mainstream or dominant culture—white, masculinist, Christian, frat boy, & so on—appear newly strange, & newly open to analysis. He has the eye & ear of an anthropologist,…
John Keene : Counternarratives, Playland, and Grind
Apr 1, 2018 • 97 min
“In Counternarratives, John Keene undertakes a kind of literary counterarchaeology, a series of fictions that challenge our notion of what constitutes ‘real’ or ‘accurate’ history. His writing is at turns playful and erudite, lyric and coldly diagnostic,…
Vi Khi Nao : Umbilical Hospital & A Brief Alphabet of Torture
Mar 11, 2018 • 108 min
“These pieces are elaborate piecework—perforated, whip stitched, and distressed field-dressed dissections of language. Tortured? Maybe. But lusciously junked & juxtaposed, turned inside out & every which way but … No, in every way they make way.”—Michael…
Micheline Aharonian Marcom : The Brick House
Mar 1, 2018 • 96 min
Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s The Brick House is a place where people dream of love and loneliness, of the world’s beauty, and of ongoing environmental degradation. Travelers confront their lives in the strange, elemental language which dreams allow for, a…
Terese Marie Mailhot : Heart Berries
Feb 13, 2018 • 81 min
“Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot is an astounding memoir in essays. Here is a wound. Here is need, naked and unapologetic. Here is a mountain woman, towering in words great and small … What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance…
Carmen Maria Machado : Her Body and Other Parties
Feb 1, 2018 • 88 min
“Cross-pollinating fairy tales, horror movies, TV shows, & a terrific sense of humor, Machado’s work reminds me at different times of such wildly divergent figures as David Lynch, Jane Campion, Maggie Nelson, & Grace Paley; which is a way of saying,…
Eunsong Kim : Gospel of Regicide
Jan 14, 2018 • 103 min
“In Gospel of Regicide, Eunsong Kim develops a thrilling method for unwriting lyric even as she reimagines it, creating a socially engaged poetry of & for our time. Anticapitalist, feminist & anti-racist yet critical of non-intersectional understandings…
Leni Zumas : Red Clocks
Jan 5, 2018 • 80 min
“Leni Zumas here proves she can do almost anything. Her tale feels part Melvillian, part Lydia Davis, part Octavia Butler—but really Zumas’s vision is entirely her own. Red Clocks is funny, mordant, political, poetic, alarming, and inspiring—not to…
David Biespiel : The Education of a Young Poet
Dec 1, 2017 • 98 min
“Biespiel’s supple memoir of becoming a poet will surely inspire other writers to embrace the bodily character of writing & feel the power &, sometimes, the emptiness of the act of writing poetry.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review “Whether he is writing…
Rae Armantrout : Partly – New & Selected Poems
Nov 1, 2017 • 77 min
“For nearly 40 years Armantrout has made a poetics of not finding the right words–of finding, in fact, the ‘wrong’ ones … Armantrout restores the strangeness of experiences we take for granted.”—Michael Robbins, Chicago Tribune “Hoopskirts, star jasmine,…
Eileen Myles : Afterglow
Oct 19, 2017 • 87 min
“What is a dog if not god? In Afterglow, Eileen Myles steps up to the challenge for writers to function as prophets. Ghostwritten in part by deceased pit bull Rosie, this ‘dog memoir’ explores—among other things—geometry, gender, mortality, evil, aging,…
Celeste Ng : Little Fires Everywhere
Oct 5, 2017 • 71 min
“I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting. With brilliance and beauty, Celeste Ng dissects a microcosm of American society just when we need to see it beneath the microscope: how do questions of race stack up against the comfort of…
Peter Rock : Spells
Sep 21, 2017 • 84 min
“Spells is a fascinating hybrid text, not simply illustrated by a collection of photographs but created in response to them, a collaboration between Peter Rock and five photographers. The result is a novel unlike any I’ve read before, that weaves elements…
Safiya Sinclair : Cannibal
Sep 10, 2017 • 81 min
“Sinclair crafts her stunning debut collection around the beauty & brutality of the word cannibal, whose origins derive from Columbus’s belief that the Carib people consumed human flesh. Attacking this dehumanizing judgment born from white entitlement &…
Matthew Zapruder : Why Poetry
Aug 21, 2017 • 90 min
In Why Poetry, award-winning poet, translator, and editor, Matthew Zapruder argues that the way we have been taught to read poetry is the very thing that prevents us from enjoying it. Anchored in poetic analysis & steered by Zapruder’s personal experience…
Yanara Friedland : Uncountry
Aug 7, 2017 • 85 min
“As a descendent of Chantal Akerman and Unica Zürn—among others—Yanara Friedland reimagines the origin myth. Friedland’s permeable pages allow the reader entryway into a ‘mirror [that] becomes an open door,’ a door through which we hear the echo of Ana…
Mary Ruefle : My Private Property
Jul 22, 2017 • 73 min
“Mary Ruefle’s careful, measured sentences sound as if they were written by a thousand-year-old person who is still genuinely curious about the world … She combines imagistic techniques from surrealism with narrative techniques to create surprising,…
Yuri Herrera : Kingdom Cons
Jul 11, 2017 • 77 min
In the court of the King, everyone knows their place. But as the Artist wins hearts & egos with his ballads, uncomfortable truths emerge that shake the Kingdom to its core. Part surreal fable & part crime romance, this prize-winning novel from Yuri…
Gregory Pardlo : Digest
Jun 26, 2017 • 91 min
“[Gregory Pardlo] explores what is American, what is African American, what is the Other, what is city, what is suburban, what is personal & what is persona. Digest offers a changing, rich landscape of verse both haunting, funny, & rigorously…
Dani Shapiro : Hourglass
Jun 7, 2017 • 91 min
What are the forces that shape our most elemental bonds? How do we make lifelong commitments in the face of identities that are continuously shifting, and commit ourselves when the self is so often in flux? What happens to love in the face of the…
Jeff Vandermeer : Borne
May 23, 2017 • 69 min
“Here is the story about biotech that VanderMeer wants to tell, a vision of the nonhuman not as one fixed thing, one fixed destiny, but as either peaceful or catastrophic, by our side or out on a rampage as our behavior dictates—for these are our…
Thalia Field : Experimental Animals
May 2, 2017 • 78 min
“Thalia Field has now composed what very well might be her life’s work—a tragic, comical, & utterly fascinating tale of a marriage that vividly encapsulates not only the origins of experimental medicine, but an entire age that spirited experiments in…
Sallie Tisdale : Violation
Apr 19, 2017 • 75 min
“That Sallie Tisdale’s a treasure comes as no secret to lovers of the essay, and yet this happy gathering that spans the decades is revelatory, a fascinating look at the epic wanderings of a life mapped by curiosity. Here we get elephants and houseflies,…
Morgan Parker : There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé
Mar 29, 2017 • 70 min
Morgan Parker uses political & pop-cultural references as a framework to explore 21st century black American womanhood & its complexities: performance, depression, isolation, exoticism, racism, femininity & politics. Parker explores this in the…
Melissa Febos : Abandon Me
Mar 15, 2017 • 80 min
“Abandon Me is, in many ways, a story about how a woman’s body & the body of literature hold memory. In other ways, Abandon Me is a story about stories. Febos weaves familial stories, feminist stories, communal stories, literary stories & love stories,…
Ursula K. Le Guin : Words Are My Matter
Feb 14, 2017 • 73 min
“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society & its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, & even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll…
Susan DeFreitas : Hot Season
Jan 18, 2017 • 86 min
An outlaw activist on the run. A pipeline set to destroy a river. And 3 young women who must decide who to love, who to trust, & what to sacrifice for the greater good. Based in part on real events in the Northwest & Southwest in the early 90s &…
Solmaz Sharif : Look
Jan 4, 2017 • 61 min
In this virtuosic array of poems, lists, shards, & sequences, Sharif assembles fragmented narratives in the aftermath of war. Those repercussions echo in the present day, the grief for those killed in America’s invasions of Afghanistan & Iraq, the…
Sofia Samatar : The Winged Histories
Dec 13, 2016 • 62 min
“If you love stories but distrust them, if you love language & can also see how it is used as a tool or a weapon in the maintenance of status quo, then read The Winged Histories.”—Marion Deeds, Fantasy Literature “Told by four different women, it is a…
Tyehimba Jess : Olio
Nov 16, 2016 • 76 min
“This 21st century hymnal of black evolutionary poetry, this almanac, this theatrical melange of miraculous meta-memory. Tyehimba Jess is inventive, prophetic, wondrous. He writes unflinchingly into the historical clefs of blackface, black sound, human…
Eliot Weinberger : The Ghosts of Birds
Nov 2, 2016 • 64 min
A new collection from “one of the world’s great essayists” (The New York Times), The Ghosts of Birds offers 35 new essays by Eliot Weinberger. He chronicles a 19th century journey down the Colorado River, records the dreams of people named Chang, & shares…
Pauls Toutonghi : Dog Gone
Oct 27, 2016 • 60 min
“You can’t write about dogs without writing about people. They chose long ago to be our good company in the adventure of being alive, and ever since they’ve served as our mirrors, our teachers, and the most stubbornly loyal of friends. Pauls Toutonghi…
Monica Drake : The Folly of Loving Life
Sep 28, 2016 • 45 min
Following her acclaimed novels Clown Girl and The Stud Book, Monica Drake presents her long-awaited first collection of stories. “What can I say about Monica Drake’s stories? They are brilliant, sure. They are hilarious, yes. Each one is a marvel. But…
Alexis Smith : Marrow Island
Sep 14, 2016 • 62 min
“A faltering journalist returns to an island abandoned after an earthquake released a toxic spill. That’s the beautifully wrought setting of this novel, which reunites two childhood friends, one of whom has joined a sect claiming it can heal the land.”—O,…
Jesse Ball : How to Set a Fire and Why
Aug 17, 2016 • 67 min
Jesse Ball’s blistering novel tells the story of a teenage girl who has lost everything—and will burn anything. Lucia’s father is dead, her mother in a mental hospital, and now she’s been kicked out of school—again. She makes her way through the world…
Rikki Ducornet : Brightfellow
Jul 20, 2016 • 64 min
A feral boy comes of age on a campus decadent with starched sheets, sweating cocktails, & homemade jams. Stub is the cause of that missing sweater, the pie that disappeared off the cooling rack. Then Stub meets Billy, who takes him in, & Asthma, who…
Lina Meruane : Seeing Red
Jun 30, 2016 • 67 min
This powerful autobiographical novel describes a young Chilean writer recently relocated to New York for doctoral work who suffers a stroke, leaving her blind & increasingly dependent on those closest to her. Fiction & autobiography intertwine in an…
Rob Spillman : All Tomorrow’s Parties
Jun 15, 2016 • 51 min
“Truly exceptional memoirs have to do something more than recount a good origin story: they have to test the author’s youthful understanding of the world, and break down that world, even as it’s being built upon the page. All Tomorrow’s Parties is such a…
Brian Blanchfield : Proxies
May 18, 2016 • 74 min
“Into what some are calling a new golden age of creative nonfiction lands Brian Blanchfield’s Proxies, which singlehandedly raises the bar for what’s possible in the field. This is a momentous work informed by a lifetime of thinking, reading, loving, and…
Idra Novey : Ways to Disappear
May 4, 2016 • 55 min
“Idra Novey, an acclaimed poet & translator of Spanish & Portuguese literature, has written a debut novel that’s a fast-paced, beguilingly playful, noirish literary mystery with a translator at its center. Ways to Disappear explores the meaning behind a…
Ursula K. Le Guin : Late in the Day
Apr 20, 2016 • 54 min
Late in the Day, Ursula K. Le Guin’s new collection of poems (2010–2014) seeks meaning in an ever-connected world, giving voice to objects that may not speak a human language but communicate with us nevertheless through and about the seasonal rhythms of…
Brian Evenson : A Collapse of Horses
Mar 30, 2016 • 59 min
A stuffed bear’s heart beats with the rhythm of a dead baby; Reno keeps receding to the east no matter how far you drive; and in a mine on another planet, the dust won’t stop seeping in. In these stories, Brian Evenson unsettles us with the everyday and…
Laila Lalami : The Moor’s Account
Mar 16, 2016 • 47 min
In this stunning work of historical fiction, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the 1st black explorer of America, a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record. In 1527, the conquistador Narváez sailed with a crew of…
Lacy M. Johnson : The Other Side
Feb 17, 2016 • 59 min
“[Lacy M. Johnson’s] powerfully moving and brilliantly structured memoir, The Other Side, asks, ‘How is it possible to reclaim the body after devastating violence?’ Her intense desire and demand for a life lived in the body is triumphant. Johnson’s…
Keith Lee Morris : Travelers Rest
Jan 20, 2016 • 42 min
“It won’t take long—a page, maybe two—before you feel wondrously disquieted by Keith Lee Morris’s Travelers Rest. The novel traps its characters in the town of Good Night, Idaho, and the reader in its shaken snow globe of a world. The language dazzles and…
Mary Gaitskill : The Mare
Dec 16, 2015 • 44 min
From the author of the National Book Award-nominated Veronica: Mary Gaitskill’s The Mare—the story of a Dominican girl, the white woman who introduces her to riding, and the horse who changes everything for her. “Gaitskill takes a premise that could have…
Valeria Luiselli : The Story of My Teeth
Nov 19, 2015 • 65 min
Written in collaboration with the workers at a Jumex juice factory, The Story of My Teeth is a witty, exhilarating romp through the industrial suburbs of Mexico City and Luiselli’s own literary influences. Protagonist Gustavo “Highway” Sánchez Sánchez is…
Amelia Gray : Gutshot
Oct 28, 2015 • 53 min
NPR calls Gutshot “a book brimming with blood, sexual deviance, mucus and madness.” The New York Times says “reading Gutshot is a little like being blindfolded and pelted from all sides with fire, Jell-O and the occasional live animal.” And Vice Magazine…
Ursula K. Le Guin : Steering The Craft
Oct 1, 2015 • 58 min
Ursula K. Le Guin believes we cannot restructure society without restructuring the English language, and thus her book on the craft of writing inevitably engages class, gender, race, capitalism, and morality, all of which are not separate from grammar,…
Liz Prato : Baby’s On Fire
Sep 23, 2015 • 35 min
“Liz Prato’s stories are filled with the lost, the lonely, and the damned, and she makes all of them sing with a haunting grandeur. Baby’s on Fire is a lamentation brimming with wit, candor, and the eternal possibility of mercy,” says writer Steve Almond…
David Biespiel : A Long High Whistle
Aug 19, 2015 • 78 min
Library Journal calls David Biespiel’s A Long High Whistle one of the best books about reading poetry you will ever find. Biespiel is a poet, editor, essayist, critic, and teacher, and also the writer of the longest-running newspaper column on poetry in…
Rebecca Makkai : Music For Wartime
Aug 5, 2015 • 40 min
Rebecca Makkai, whose stories have appeared in four consecutive editions of The Best American Short Stories, discusses her much-anticipated story collection Music for Wartime. A reality show producer manipulates two contestants into falling in love, even…
Maggie Nelson : The Argonauts
Jul 29, 2015 • 54 min
An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family. Maggie Nelson binds her personal experience, the story of her relationship with the fluidly-gendered artist Harry Dodge, to a rigorous exploration of what…
Lidia Yuknavitch : The Small Backs of Children
Jul 15, 2015 • 49 min
In a war-torn village in Eastern Europe, an American photographer captures a heart-stopping image: a young girl flying toward the lens, fleeing a fiery explosion that has engulfed her home and family. The image wins acclaim and prizes, becoming an icon…
Mary Ruefle : An Incarnation of the Now
Jun 3, 2015 • 61 min
Beloved and critically-acclaimed poet, essayist, and erasure artist, Mary Ruefle talks about her life as an artist, her approach to poetry, the questions she comes back to, and the artists that influence her. Ruefle is the author of ten books of poetry,…
Neal Stephenson : Seveneves
May 20, 2015 • 49 min
A catastrophic event renders the Earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere: in outer space. Only a…
Viet Thanh Nguyen : The Sympathizer
Apr 29, 2015 • 41 min
It is April 1975 and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country.…
Sarah Manguso : Ongoingness
Apr 2, 2015 • 38 min
In Ongoingness, Sarah Manguso confronts a meticulous diary that she has kept for 25 years. “I wanted to end each day with a record of everything that had ever happened,” she explains. But this simple statement belies a terror that she might miss something…
Kelly Link : Get in Trouble
Mar 4, 2015 • 52 min
Kelly Link has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an…
Sarah Gerard : Binary Star
Feb 25, 2015 • 30 min
The language of the stars is the language of the body. Like a star, the anorexic burns fuel that isn’t replenished; she is held together by her own gravity. With luminous, lyrical prose, Binary Star is an account of a young woman struggling with anorexia…
Miranda July : The First Bad Man
Jan 28, 2015 • 41 min
Here is Cheryl, a tightly-wound, vulnerable woman who lives alone, with a perpetual lump in her throat. She is haunted by a baby boy she met when she was six, who sometimes recurs as other people’s babies. Cheryl is also obsessed with Phillip, a…
Leslie Jamison : The Empathy Exams
Dec 18, 2014 • 49 min
Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison’s visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about…
Claudia Rankine : Citizen
Nov 13, 2014 • 60 min
Claudia Rankine, chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, speaks about her much-awaited follow-up to her groundbreaking work Don’t Let Me Be Lonely. A provocative meditation on race (and short-listed for the National Book Award), Citizen: An American…
William Gibson : The Peripheral
Nov 5, 2014 • 62 min
Where Flynne and her brother, Burton, live, jobs outside the drug business are rare. Fortunately, Burton has his veteran’s benefits, for the neural damage he suffered from implants during his time in the USMC’s elite Haptic Recon force. Then one night…
David Mitchell : The Bone Clocks
Oct 1, 2014 • 46 min
“No one, clearly, has ever told Mitchell that the novel is dead. He writes with a furious intensity and slapped-awake vitality, with a delight in language and all the rabbit holes of experience … In his sixth novel, he’s brought together the time-capsule…
Ben Parzybok : Sherwood Nation
Sep 10, 2014 • 37 min
In drought-stricken Portland, Oregon, a Robin Hood-esque water thief is caught on camera redistributing an illegal truckload of water to those in need. Nicknamed Maid Marian—real name: Renee, a twenty-something barista and eternal part-time college…
Karen Russell : Sleep Donation
Aug 13, 2014 • 53 min
A crisis has swept America. Hundreds of thousands have lost the ability to sleep. Enter the Slumber Corps, an organization that urges healthy dreamers to donate sleep to an insomniac. Under the wealthy and enigmatic Storch brothers, the Corps’ reach has…
Dinaw Mengestu : All Our Names
Jul 30, 2014 • 29 min
All Our Names is the story of two young men who come of age during an African revolution, drawn from the safe confines of the university campus into the intensifying clamor of the streets outside. But as the line between idealism and violence becomes…
Jo Walton : My Real Children
Jun 25, 2014 • 51 min
It’s 2015 and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know—what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don’t seem possible. She…
Roxane Gay : An Untamed State
Jun 11, 2014 • 36 min
An Untamed State is a novel of privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce. It is the story of a willful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is…
Leni Zumas & Luca DiPierro : A Wooden Leg
May 28, 2014 • 57 min
There is a long, if lesser known, history of fictions (and fictive illustrations) that invite reader participation, where the reader co-creates the story with the authors. These stories often utilize an element of chance and/or suggest multiple possible…
Lorrie Moore : Bark
Apr 23, 2014 • 39 min
Harper’s Magazine may have said it best when describing today’s guest, Lorrie Moore: “Fifty years from now, it may well turn out that the work of very few American writers has as much to say about what it means to be alive in our time as that of Lorrie…
Kyle Minor : Praying Drunk
Apr 9, 2014 • 52 min
The characters in Praying Drunk speak in tongues, torture their classmates, fall in love, hunt for immortality, abandon their children, keep machetes beneath passenger seats, and collect porcelain figurines. From Kentucky to Florida to Haiti, these…
Helen Oyeyemi : Boy, Snow, Bird
Mar 27, 2014 • 30 min
In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow…
Gina Frangello: A Life In Men
Mar 12, 2014 • 28 min
The friendship between Mary and Nix has endured since childhood, a seemingly unbreakable bond, until the mid-1980s, when the two young women reunite for a summer vacation in Greece. It’s a trip instigated by Nix, who has just learned that Mary has been…
Chang-rae Lee : On Such A Full Sea
Feb 20, 2014 • 37 min
“The most striking dystopian novels sound an alarm, focus our attention and even change the language. The Handmaid’s Tale crystallized our fears about reproductive control; Fahrenheit 451 still flames discussions of censorship; and 1984 is the lens…
Gary Shteyngart : Little Failure
Jan 23, 2014 • 46 min
“Gary Shteyngart has written a memoir for the ages. I spat laughter on the first page and closed the last with wet eyes. Unputdownable in the day and a half I spent reading it, Little Failure is a window into immigrant agony and ambition, Jewish angst,…
Veronica Gonzalez Peña : The Sad Passions
Dec 19, 2013 • 55 min
Told by six women in one family, Veronica Gonzalez Peña’s The Sad Passions captures the alertness, beauty, and terror of childhood lived in proximity to madness. Set against the backdrop of a colonial past, spanning three generations, and shuttling from…
Kevin Sampsell : This Is Between Us
Nov 21, 2013 • 28 min
There may be no author more integral to the Portland literary scene than Kevin Sampsell. Kevin is not only the small press curator and events coordinator at Powell’s books, but he’s also the editor of the Portland Noir fiction anthology, curated this…
Lucy Corin : One Hundred Apocalypses
Oct 31, 2013 • 31 min
We seem to be in the midst of an upsurge in dystopian art and end times anxieties. If we as a culture don’t have a sense of impending doom, we do at least have trouble imagining the future being bright and promising. Today’s guest Lucy Corin is here on…
Jonathan Lethem : Dissident Gardens
Oct 2, 2013 • 36 min
Jonathan Lethem is a man of many lives. For one, because of his repeated return to New York as both setting and muse in novels such as Motherless Brooklyn, Fortress of Solitude, and Chronic City, he may be New York’s closest thing to having a bard. But…
Robert Boswell : Tumbledown
Sep 19, 2013 • 38 min
“When most of us think of today’s great American novel, we think of Franzen’s Freedom or Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad—sprawling stories that comment on contemporary society as we live it. Tumbledown, Robert Boswell’s latest, is just such a book—and…
Jami Attenberg : The Middlesteins
Aug 8, 2013 • 34 min
For more than thirty years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart for one reason: Edie’s enormous girth. She’s obsessed with food–thinking about it, eating it—and…
Matt Bell : In the House Upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods
Jul 10, 2013 • 29 min
Matt Bell’s novel is so unlike anything else you’ll read this year that people are struggling to describe just what it is. The Washington Post says it’s like a magical realist story chanted by druids on mushrooms, The Stranger says it feels like a Tolkein…
NoViolet Bulawayo : We Need New Names
Jun 27, 2013 • 28 min
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, NoViolet Bulawayo earned her MFA at Cornell University where she was the recipient of the Truman Capote fellowship. In 2011 she won the biggest literary prize in Africa, the Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story…
Lenore Zion : Stupid Children
May 30, 2013 • 26 min
Host David Naimon talks with Lenore Zion about her debut novel Stupid Children, a book Thomas Michael Duncan of Necessary Fiction calls “a bildungsroman of twisted proportions told with startling clarity through the filter of a smart, psychoanalytic…
Benjamin Percy : Red Moon
May 15, 2013 • 28 min
They live among us.
 They are your neighbor, your mother, your lover.
 They change. Every teenage girl thinks she’s different. When government agents kick down Claire Forrester’s front door and murder her parents, Claire realizes just how different she…
Karen Russell : Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Apr 24, 2013 • 31 min
Karen Russell is one of today’s most celebrated and vital writers—honored in the New Yorker’s list of the twenty best writers under the age of forty, Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists, and the National Book Foundation’s five best writers under the…
Monica Drake : The Stud Book
Apr 18, 2013 • 29 min
In the hip haven of Portland, Oregon, a pack of unsteady but loyal friends asks what it means to bring babies into an already crowded world. A smart, edgy and poignantly funny exploration of the complexities of what parenthood means today, Monica Drake’s…
Sam Lipsyte : The Fun Parts
Mar 14, 2013 • 26 min
A hilarious collection of stories from the writer the New York Times called “the novelist of his generation.” Returning to the form in which he began, Sam Lipsyte, author of the New York Times bestseller The Ask, offers up The Fun Parts, a book of bold,…
George Saunders : Tenth of December
Feb 14, 2013 • 29 min
“George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read All Year,” declared the cover of the New York Times Magazine several weeks ago. Since then, the world has rushed to agree that Saunders’ new story collection, Tenth of December, is a remarkable…
Chris Kraus : Summer of Hate
Nov 30, 2012 • 27 min
Writer, filmmaker and art critic Chris Kraus talks with host David Naimon about her latest book, Summer of Hate. Her other books include the novels I Love Dick, hailed by Rick Moody as one of the literary highpoints of the past two decades, Aliens &…
Alexis Smith : Glaciers
Nov 15, 2012 • 28 min
Portland author Alexis Smith talks with host David Naimon about Glaciers, her debut novel from Tin House books. Glaciers follows Isabel through a day in her life, in which work with damaged books in the basement of a library, unrequited love for the…
Jess Walter : Beautiful Ruins
Oct 25, 2012 • 29 min
Host David Naimon talks with Jess Walter about his sixth novel, Beautiful Ruins, a deeply human rollercoaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. Walter is also the author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets,…
Junot Diaz : This Is How You Lose Her
Sep 27, 2012 • 34 min
Host David Naimon speaks with Junot Diaz, who the New Yorker calls one of the top 20 writers for the 21st century. He’s the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a Creative Writing professor at MIT, the Fiction…
Sheila Heti : How Should A Person Be?
Aug 31, 2012
Is How Should a Person Be? a novel, a memoir, a self-help manual, or a book of philosophy? It is all of these things and more. Host David Naimon talks with Sheila Heti about her new book, which Bookforum dubs “a raw, startling, genre-defying novel of…
Karen Thompson Walker : The Age of Miracles
Jul 14, 2012 • 27 min
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected,…
Vanessa Veselka : Zazen
Jun 22, 2012 • 29 min
A war has either started or is about to; bombs are going off in the city, but people seem strangely disengaged. Della’s activist friends seem more concerned about the next sex party or the finer points of vegan ideology, and customers at the vegan café…
Adam Levin : Hot Pink
Jun 14, 2012 • 29 min
Adam Levin’s debut novel, The Instructions, published by McSweeney’s in 2010, arrived with a lot of buzz. An inventive, experimental book of over 1000 pages, its protagonist was Gurion ben-Judah Maccabee, a 10-year-old genius from Chicago, who may or may…
Jon Raymond : Rain Dragon
May 24, 2012 • 29 min
Host David Naimon talks with Portland author, Jon Raymond, about his new novel Rain Dragon. Raymond is the author of the novel The Half-Life, and the short story collection Livability, which won the Oregon Book Award and contained two stories that became…
Nathan Englander : What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
Mar 14, 2012 • 29 min
Englander burst on the literary scene in 1999 with For The Relief of Unbearable Urges, a story collection that earned him the PEN/Faulkner Malamud Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kauffman Prize. His first novel, The Ministry of…
Ben Marcus : The Flame Alphabet
Mar 1, 2012 • 25 min
What if the words your children spoke to you actually made you sick? Physically sick. And what if the children themselves relished in this newfound power over their parents? This is the setting of Ben Marcus’ new dystopian novel The Flame Alphabet. Ben…
Colson Whitehead : Zone One
Dec 29, 2011 • 21 min
Host David Naimon speaks with award-winning writer Colson Whitehead about his new novel Zone One, described as a “wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel.” The world has been devastated by a plague. There are two types of survivors: the uninfected…
Justin Torres : We The Animals
Nov 3, 2011 • 25 min
Host David Naimon interviews debut novelist Justin Torres. His book, We the Animals, has been heralded for its beautiful, concentrated prose. NPR likened it to a diamond, brilliant and brilliantly compressed. Esquire called it a “knock to the head that…
China Miéville : Embassytown
Jul 21, 2011 • 28 min
Science fiction and fantasy writer China Miéville has won nearly every award in the genre and has caught the attention of mainstream publications from the New York Times to the Guardian with the depth of his imagination and the height of his erudition.…
Scott Sparling : Wire to Wire
Jun 30, 2011 • 28 min
Host David Naimon interviews Portland writer Scott Sparling about his debut novel, Wire to Wire, from Tin House Books. A pick of the week by Publisher’s Weekly, they call Wire to Wire, “well-crafted and thrilling, tying together an obvious love for both…
Anthony Doerr : Memory Wall
Jan 13, 2011 • 26 min
Host David Naimon speaks with writer Anthony Doerr about his latest book, Memory Wall. Doerr is the author of three other books: The Shell Collector, About Grace, and Four Seasons in Rome. Doerr’s short fiction has won three O. Henry Prizes and has been…
Nicole Krauss : Great House
Dec 14, 2010 • 25 min
Host David Naimon speaks with Nicole Krauss about her newest novel Great House, which tells a story haunted by questions: What do we pass on to our children? How do they absorb our dreams and losses? How do we respond to disappearance, destruction, and…