Rules for Writing

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“Rule No. 10: Revise, revise, revise. I cannot stress this enough. Revision is when you do what you should have done the first time, but didn’t.” Colson Whitehead, whose seventh novel, The Nickel Boys (Doubleday, 2019), is featured in Page One in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, reads his 2012 New York Times piece “How to Write” at the Muldoon’s Picnic variety show in New York City in 2015.

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Reginald Dwayne Betts

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Poet, memoirist, and teacher Reginald Dwayne Betts speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown about his experience as a teen in prison and how poetry gave him a new identity. Betts is the author of Bastards of the Reagan Era (Four Way Books, 2015) and Felon, forthcoming from Norton in October, and is a recipient of the 2019 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award.

Marci Vogel

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“I would read out loud and tried to check in my own breath, in my own body how the sentence was feeling and what kind of experience it was giving me as the first reader.” Marci Vogel reads from her books At the Border of Wilshire & Nobody (Howling Bird Press, 2015) and Death and Other Holidays (Melville House, 2018) and discusses her writing process both with poetry and prose in this Poetry.LA interview with Mariano Zaro.

Marlon James on Writing a Trilogy

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“In a lot of African storytelling, unlike storytelling in the West, it’s the trickster who is telling the story, so you already know you can’t quite believe it.” On Late Night With Seth Meyers, Marlon James speaks about the influences behind his new novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Riverhead Books, 2019), the first title of his Dark Star Trilogy, ranging from the television series The Affair and George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. A profile of James by Kima Jones appears in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Chigozie Obioma

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“My work is a tragic form of fiction that is both European and African at the same time.” In this interview for the Louisiana Channel, Chigozie Obioma speaks about how his early influences of Shakespeare and Igbo folklore led him to write his debut novel, The Fishermen (Little, Brown, 2015). Obioma is featured in “Portraits of Inspiration” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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A House of My Own

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“It is a map of how this writer had to break many barriers to find not a room of her own, but a house of her own.” Sandra Cisneros speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown about her essay collection, A House of My Own: Stories From My Life (Knopf, 2015), her path to writing, and what home means to her. Cisneros was recently named the winner of the 2019 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.

Josh Malerman

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Josh Malerman talks about writing novels while touring with his band, incorporating performance and radio play elements into his book readings, and the inspiration behind his debut novel, Bird Box (Ecco, 2014), in this video from the 2015 Midwest Literary Walk. The novel has been adapted into a feature film directed by Susanne Bier and starring Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, and Trevante Rhodes.

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Ada Limón at AWP

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Ada Limón speaks about her poetry collections Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions, 2015) and The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018) with PBS Books at the 2018 AWP Annual Conference & Book Fair. Limón is interviewed by Carrie Fountain in “The Poetry of Perseverance” in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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June 2nd, 1989

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“I didn’t have a chance / to say a word before you became / a character in the news...” Khaled Hosseini, Rita Dove, Philip Gourevitch, and Siri Hustvedt read Liu Xia’s poem “June 2nd, 1989” from Empty Chairs (Graywolf Press, 2015), translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern. PEN America and Amnesty International collaborated on the video series as a call to free Liu Xia from house arrest in Beijing, where she has been held since her late husband, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, was imprisoned in 2009.

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Prescribed Fire

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“My family is a group of redwoods / that sought god instead of ground...” Samoan American poet William Nu’utupu Giles reads his poem “Prescribed Fire” at the 2015 National Poetry Slam. Giles won the National Underground Poetry Individual Competition in 2015, the first Pacific Islander to win the award.

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