Notes to A Tribe Called Quest

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“It’s a book about a rap group, but, more particularly, a book that is examining how fandom seeps into our lives.” In this PBS NewHour video, Hanif Abdurraqib speaks with Amna Nawaz about his memoir, Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (University of Texas Press, 2019), and the ways in which music intertwines with identity and the poignant moments in our lives.

Mario Vargas Llosa

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“The only counsel that is acceptable is to work! To work very hard until you discover the kind of writer that you want to be.” Nobel Prize–winning Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa dispenses advice to young and emerging writers in this Louisiana Channel interview with Christian Lund at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.

Isabella Hammad

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“It’s really hard to inhabit the mind of another.... You use your emotional experience, you use your literal experience, you use the experience of others you know to access imaginatively another subjectivity.” Isabella Hammad, the Plimpton Prize–winning author of The Parisian (Grove Press, 2019), talks about the difficulties and joys of writing fiction, her novel’s historical context, and the concept of nostalgia.

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Cocktails With Benjamin Percy

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“I love To the Lighthouse, but they never get to the lighthouse.” In this episode of Cocktails With Bright Antenna, Benjamin Percy talks about the differences between literary fiction and genre fiction, how some writers are gardeners and some are architects, and reveals the origins of his phobias. Percy’s latest book, Suicide Woods (Graywolf Press, 2019), is featured in Page One in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Adrienne Brodeur

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“The very act of reading is an empathetic act.” In this Aspen Institute video, Adrienne Brodeur talks about her writing process and reads from her debut memoir, Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), which is featured in Page One in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Carmen Maria Machado on Magic

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“How do you tell interesting stories? You puncture through reality and you let magic and weird stuff and ghosts bleed back through.” In this video, Carmen Maria Machado talks about the influence Gabriel García Márquez’s Hundred Years of Solitude had on her writing with Jared Arraes and Adriana Couto at the 2019 International Literary Festival of Paraty in Brazil. A profile of Machado by Jera Brown appears in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Elif Shafak

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“I sincerely believe this is a life-affirming book and it is a novel that celebrates diversity, inclusion…and friendships.” Elif Shafak speaks about her writing process and the inspiration behind her latest novel, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking, 2019), which is shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates at Monticello

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“I wanted to center the emotions and the feelings of the actual enslaved people.” Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks about what inspired him to write his debut novel, The Water Dancer (One World, 2019), as he walks through Thomas Jefferson’s estate, Monticello, with Gayle King for CBS This Morning.

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Talking to Strangers

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“A stranger is someone who we know in only one dimension.” Malcolm Gladwell talks to the Economist’s Anne McElvoy about his latest book, Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know (Little, Brown, 2019), in which he examines how interactions between strangers often go wrong using high-profile cases such as the trial of Amanda Knox and the death of Sandra Bland as examples.

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