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Muradov's Accidental Inspiration

12.16.14

“My work is a lifelong celebration of futility.” Artist Roman Muradov, designer of this issue’s cover, discusses his various wells of inspiration, his relationship to the written word, and the importance of doing nothing.

Stories That Sing: A Profile of Michael Williams

Online Only, posted 12.16.14

It’s still early morning as I make my way by taxi across Cape Town, traveling from our ship in the harbor to the Artscape Theatre Center on the Foreshore. It’s a sharp, blue-sky day in late March.

Answer Songs: Music as Muse

12.16.14

A songwriter responds to literature—such as stories by Jonathan Lethem and George Saunders—with music, carrying the creative conversation across art forms.

 

The Problem of Entitlement: A Question of Respect

8.20.14

A writer and workshop instructor grapples with what he sees as an increasing resistance toward the work of established authors among writing students.

I Wasn't Born Yesterday: The Beauty of Backstory

8.31.13

Novelist Eleanor Henderson discusses the beauty and necessity of backstory in fiction, offering a counterpoint to a previously published article in which novelist Benjamin Percy warned writers about the dangers of backstory.

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The Written Image: Sorted Books

12.16.14

In her Sorted Books project, Nina Katchadourian arranges books from libraries—including William S. Burroughs’s personal collection, as well as those housed in museums and galleries across the country, to find a kind of poetry in the spines.

 

Ethnicity and Craft: Creating Characters, not Caricatures

by Jennifer De Leon

The Literary Life

January/February 2015

<p>A writer and editor shares her thoughts, as well as lessons learned from authors such as Junot Díaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Celeste Ng, on writing of and from a culture that may be foreign to the reader: what do we explain, italicize, or translate? How do we navigate the divide between the ethnicity of a writer or character and that of her audience?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Feckless Pondering: Emotional Beats and the Art of Repose

by Benjamin Percy

The Literary Life

January/February 2015

<p>A case for balancing action with introspection in fiction, in order to avoid “gumming up the gears of your story.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

More Ideas Faster: Writing With Abandon

by Grant Faulkner

Special Section

January/February 2015

<p>A writer learns that letting go of the need for perfectionism, and instead allowing the creative impulse to guide him fluidly and freely, can revitalize the practice of writing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Art Vs. Life: A Quarrel Between David Shields and Caleb Powell

by David Shields and Caleb Powell

Special Section

January/February 2015

<p>What comes first—the human or the writer? David Shields and Caleb Powell discuss the origins and collaborative process behind the four-day argument about life and art that became their new book (and film), <i>I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel</i>.</p>
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