Transforming Tragedy Into Art

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Vaddey Ratner discusses In the Shadow of Banyan, a debut novel depicting her family's experience during the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s. "I didn't want to write a memoir," she says. "What I wanted was to honor the lives lost, those who perished, and I wanted to do so through my endeavor to transorm personal pain with art." In the Shadow of Banyan will be published by Simon & Schuster in July.

Katherine Larson

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"You have speakers engaged with everything from the purple gonads of moon jellyfish to ancient Egyptian burial rights," says poet and molecular biologist Katherine Larson about her collection Radial Symmetry, winner of the 2010 Yale Series of Younger Poets, in this recent profile on the PBS NewsHour.

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David Rakoff

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In a short video from earlier this year, the author of three essay collections, including his most recent, Half Empty (Doubleday, 2010), and a frequent contributor to This American Life, talks about why he writes, the nature of creativity, and why writing only gets harder. Rakoff died on Thursday night after a battle with cancer. He was forty-seven.

Ilustrado

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Miguel Syjuco describes his usage of Velcro, file folders, and ten separate Microsoft Word documents for the construction of his debut novel, Ilustrado (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010). Syjuco speaks about the importance of Asia Literary Review in Literary MagNet in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Anthony Swofford

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Former Marine Anthony Swofford, author of the memoirs Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles (Scribner, 2010) and Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails (Twelve 2012), is one of six writers featured in Rochelle Spencer's "Books and Babies," an article in the new issue of the magazine that takes a look at the challenges of being a parent and an author. In this video, Swofford talks about his experience serving in and writing about the military as well as some misconstrued facts about combat veterans returning home from war.

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