Rachel Cusk on Her Writing Process

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“I got into the habit of writing very, very, very quickly,” says Rachel Cusk, author of the Outline trilogy and the essay collection, Coventry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), about taking long breaks from writing to live a normal life and the experience of being a mother to young children without the time to make notes. “I had to hold things and then find an opportunity to express them.”

After Preparing the Altar, the Ghosts Feast Feverishly

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“Child, we move through graves / like eels, delicious with our heads first, our mouths / agape.” In this Ours Poetica video, Jane Wong reads her poem “After Preparing the Altar, the Ghosts Feast Feverishly” published in the November 2018 issue of Poetry magazine. Wong’s second poetry collection, How to Not Be Afraid of Everything, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in 2021.

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Arthur Sze

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“When you think you’re getting good, be humble. There’s no end to the learning.” In this video, Arthur Sze visits his high school, the Lawrenceville School, and offers advice from his years of experience as a poet. Sze is the recipient of the 2013 Jackson Poetry Prize and won the 2019 National Book Award in poetry for his collection Sight Lines (Copper Canyon Press, 2019).

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Earthquake Bird

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The Earthquake Bird (Picador, 2001), the debut mystery novel by British author Susanna Jones, has been adapted into a feature film directed by Wash Westmoreland. The psychological thriller follows a young expat in 1989 Tokyo who is accused of murder when her friend goes missing and stars Riley Keough, Naoki Kobayashi, Kenichi Masuda, Kiki Sukezane, and Alicia Vikander.

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Sarah M. Broom

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“If we truly love a place and are tethered to a place, then it’s our job to get to know that place.” In this Good Morning America interview, Sarah M. Broom speaks about her debut memoir, The Yellow House (Grove Press, 2019), which is a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in nonfiction.

Isabella Hammad

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“It’s really hard to inhabit the mind of another,” says Isabella Hammad, author of The Parisian (Grove Press, 2019), about the difficulties and joys of writing fiction in this Louisiana Channel interview. “You use your emotional experience, you use your literal experience, you use the experience of others you know to access imaginatively another subjectivity.”

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Julia Phillips on Disappearing Earth

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“This novel is about violence and loss, but it’s also about finding answers.” At a Penguin Random House event with librarians, Julia Phillips speaks about her debut novel, Disappearing Earth (Knopf, 2019), which is a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in fiction.

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Erin Morgenstern

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“The themes in the book involve missed opportunities and what it’s like to have something that you wish you’d done before, and you wonder how it would’ve changed your story.” In this video, Erin Morgenstern talks about the themes in her second novel, The Starless Sea (Doubleday, 2019), her writing process, literary genres, and what she’s currently reading.

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Harryette Mullen at Beyond Baroque

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“Instead of scanning newspaper headlines, / I spend the morning reading names / of flowers and trees in the botanical garden.” Harryette Mullen reads a selection of poems from her collection Urban Tumbleweed: Notes From a Tanka Diary (Graywolf Press, 2013) at Beyond Baroque in this Poetry.LA video.

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The Girl With the Leica

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In this video, German Italian author Helena Janeczek talks about her historical fiction novel, The Girl With the Leica (Europa Editions, 2019), translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein, for which she won the Strega Prize. The book centers on the life of Gerda Taro, who documented the Spanish Civil War with photographer Robert Capa and was tragically the first woman photojournalist to die on the battlefield.

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