Literary Hub6 min read
How Loving The Princess Bride Led Me to Buddhism
Hello. My name is Ethan Nichtern. The Six-Fingered Man was my father’s best friend. Prepare to read. David Nichtern and Christopher Guest were born two weeks apart and grew up together in downtown New York City. Christopher was not yet a diabolical v
Literary Hub10 min read
What Quilting and Embroidery Can Teach us About Narrative Form
Many more times a day than I believe to be normal, I will catch something falling from my desk, mid-air. In my hand will be an object that I myself just knocked over the edge—a teacup, a pair of scissors, a can of bright pens. And in the moments imme
Literary Hub8 min readSociety
Life As A Trans Man In Turn-of-the-Century America
In 1902, 33-year-old Harry Gorman was hospitalized in Buffalo, New York, after he suffered a serious fall that broke one of his legs. While on the surface this event sounds inconsequential, it prompted a firestorm of media coverage. Indeed, on his ho
Literary Hub7 min read
Did Mark Twain Anticipate the Nazis?
In 1981, British author Rebecca West was interviewed by fellow writer and compatriot Marina Warner for The Paris Review. Their conversation, shared as part of the magazine’s renowned series “The Art of Fiction,” meanders from West’s literary influenc
Literary Hub6 min readSociety
Cheryl Strayed is Fed Up with Memoir-Bashing
Cheryl Strayed is a feminist phenomenon, what with her dazzling, bestselling memoir Wild, and her wildly popular Dear Sugar advice column, which is now a bestselling book and a NY Times podcast. But unlike many famous authors who hit it big and immed
Literary Hub10 min read
When the Devil Comes to Town: Unmasking a 100-Year-Old Axe Murderer
It is a warm night, most often on a weekend. There is a very small town with a railroad track that runs through the town, or sometimes along the edge of it. You can’t get more than a few hundred feet away from the railroad track and still be in the t
Literary Hub10 min read
Opioids and Refugees: Why Not Poetry?
This interview took place in a backyard bar in Oakland, CA, on the afternoon of the eclipse, which was blocked by the morning fog. It has been edited for clarity and concision. * William Brewer: Our books are concerned with social issues. For you, th
Literary Hub8 min read
12 Literary Writers on Stephen King’s Influence
Stephen King—prolific writer, mega-bestseller, living author with the most film adaptations to his name, crowned king of horror but by no means limited to that genre—turns 70 today. Despite (or perhaps because of) his relentless success, there have b
Literary Hub6 min read
Talking Disco and the Disaster Imaginary with Andrew Durbin
Andrew Durbin writes prose with narcoleptic tendencies, his sentences like sleepers suddenly jerking awake. In his new novel, MacArthur Park, Durbin’s protagonist Nick Fowler, a young poet who occasionally writes about art and is also working on a bo
Literary Hub6 min read
Bringing My In-Laws’ Stories To Life Through Fiction
My wife’s family shows up. For everything. Birthdays, hospital visits, graduations—you name it, they show up. That is this family’s doctrine. When my wife was running late to pick up the kids, there was no question that I would show up on her behalf.
Literary Hub8 min read
Are You the Beauty or the Heroine? How Female Friendship Can Change the Story of Your Life
My first was named Sam. After Sam came Kate, and when Kate broke my heart I stopped going after them, best friends who were tiny and beautiful and wild enough to be just a little bit scary. These friendships, the perilous kind I was drawn to in my te
Literary Hub6 min read
How Much Actual History Do You Need for a Historical Novel?
“Individual memory, history, and the novel, are all selective: no one remembers everything, each historian picks out the facts he or she chooses to find significant, and every novel, whether historical or not, must limit its own scope. No one can tel
Literary Hub7 min read
Beyond Heroes and Villains: A Deeper Look at the 19th-Century Indian Wars
Chief Lean Bear was a member of the Council of Forty-Four, the governing body of the Cheyenne people. Council chiefs were peacemakers, enjoined by tribal custom never to permit passion to displace reason and to always act on behalf of the tribe’s bes
Literary Hub9 min readSociety
Attica Locke on the Rise of the Aryan Brotherhood, and Never Quite Leaving East Texas
Attica Locke knows that her new book, Bluebird, Bluebird, is going to take on a life of its own. That’s what happens your novel about a black Texas Ranger investigating a pair of murders in a small town run by white nationalists comes out after a sum
Literary Hub17 min read
The Reading Lists Hidden Inside 12 Great Books
Earlier this year, I read Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman for the first time, and was immediately delighted—I mean, if you want to seduce me as a reader, you could do no better than to mention W. G. Sebald on page three. Except perhaps by fol
Literary Hub7 min read
A Monster No Matter What: On Being Unable to Grieve for My Father
On a wintry night a month and a half after my father’s death, my cat Miranda begins to scream and convulse. She’s 18, her kidneys are failing, the cancer has spread from her lungs to her brain, and two weeks have passed since the vet said Any day now
Literary Hub8 min read
Writing Bellow’s Biography While He Was Still Alive
I never missed a Bellow reading at the 92nd Street Y, and my heart gladdened when I read in The New York Times that he would be appearing in October. I had heard that the house was sold out, and I congratulated myself on having ordered my ticket earl
Literary Hub8 min read
More Than the Beauty or the Heroine
My first was named Sam. After Sam came Kate, and when Kate broke my heart I stopped going after them, best friends who were tiny and beautiful and wild enough to be just a little bit scary. These friendships, the perilous kind I was drawn to in my te
Literary Hub9 min read
Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha, and Other Immortal Mortals
She was a great actress, but only in real life. –Hilton Als, White Girls Gwendolyn Brooks did not live to see her hundredth birthday, but I take comfort in the survival of her alter ego: “Maud Martha was born in 1917. She is still alive.” So begins t
Literary Hub11 min read
Finding Truth in Ballet and the Movies
This interview came about for a variety of reasons, and one of them was, although I seem to write books in which existing narratives get woven into other, often precariously related narratives, I don’t always understand how that weaving works. And Br
Literary Hub7 min read
5 Books Making News This Week: Craft, Crime, and Trauma
“He was always a visionary.” That’s poet Kevin Young on his friend since 1989, Colson Whitehead, who wins this year’s Best of Brooklyn award, presented at the Brooklyn Book Festival mingle Saturday night. Young is accepting that night for Whitehead,
Literary Hub7 min readPolitics
Franklin Foer on the Existential Threat of Big Tech
Hot on the heels of Jonathan Taplin’s influential Move Fast and Break Things, comes another unabashed polemic against the impact of digital technology, particularly Silicon Valley, on America. World Without Mind is Franklin Foer’s critique of what he
Literary Hub8 min read
Life on the Road, and in a Walmart Parking Lot
As I write this, they are scattered across the country– In Drayton, North Dakota, a former San Francisco cabdriver, 67, labors at the annual sugar beet harvest. He works from sunrise until after sunset in temperatures that dip below freezing, helping
Literary Hub8 min read
A Lost Voice, Writer’s Block, and a New Life
I was losing my voice. A few years ago, a bad cold left me coughing for days, but even when that passed, my voice remained raspy, my throat sore and in need of constant clearing. A lump-like feeling had taken up residence in the back of my mouth, lik
Literary Hub1 min read
Jesmyn Ward on Ava DuVernay, Reading History, and the Art of the Profile
In this episode of A Phone Call From Paul, Jesmyn Ward talks to Paul Holdengraber about discovering new directions through history, the hard work of profile-writing, and the realities of child prison labor in Mississippi. Jesmyn Ward on Talking to Av
Literary Hub5 min read
Imagining the Future of Nigeria: Accessing Africa Through Sci-Fi
In 2016, an old scam began circulating on Facebook about a man who needed to collect money to rescue his cousin, a Nigerian astronaut, from space. One Dr. Bakare Tunde explained that he needed to raise $3 million to save the astronaut from a secret S
Literary Hub9 min read
When Chicago Was the Real Literary Capital of the United States
In 1920, America’s leading literary critic, H. L. Mencken, took up the case of Chicago. In a piece for the London edition of the Nation, Mencken explains that the search for authentic American literature leads to the stockyards: Find a writer who is
Literary Hub5 min read
Evil Enters From the Left: On Pantomime and the Classic Stage
“Give me the lamp, boy!” My grandfather’s voice was quiet, which was more frightening than if he’d shouted. He moved towards me, one hand stretched out, his shadow making fantastical shapes on the wall. “Give me the lamp…” This isn’t a shocking story
Literary Hub7 min read
Writing My Trauma With a Little Help From a Jason Bourne Car Chase
I once heard a writer lament that most people these days only care about watching TV boxed sets, no one cares about books. On one hand, I can see their point: how many days and weeks of individual lives have been spent following the exploits of Don D
Literary Hub8 min read
American Xenophobia: Each Generation Must Write the Wrongs of History
Shortly before the birth of Christ, the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus took a moment to reflect on a practice that was still not very widespread in the Western world, yet one that he had concluded was indispensable to human prosperity: Who could co
…Or Discover Something New