Ocean Vuong on War, Sexuality, and Asian American Identity

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“I would sneak out of recess, stay in the library to listen to tapes of famous speeches, and one of them was Martin Luther King,” recounts Ocean Vuong about his childhood in this interview with Michel Martin for Amanpour and Company. “You could hear the static when he was giving the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, and I thought...who is this man talking about dreams in a snowstorm?” Vuong was awarded the 2020 Brooklyn Public Library Fiction & Poetry Prize for his novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press, 2019).

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Danielle Evans

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“All writing is really an act of translation, we’re trying to ask someone to inhabit someone else’s experience for long enough to understand some portion of it.” In this 2018 interview for Oregon Humanities Center’s UO Today, Danielle Evans reads from her debut story collection, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (Riverhead Books, 2010), and speaks about her writing practice and teaching. Evans is featured in “The Confounding Insistence on Innocence” by Naomi Jackson in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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LIT With Safiya Sinclair

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“The tepid / American I sank with my old shoes over the jaws of the Atlantic / could never understand the hard clamor of my laugh…” Safiya Sinclair reads from her debut collection, Cannibal (University of Nebraska Press, 2016), and speaks about poetry as the “language of an impolite body” in this episode of LIT hosted by Yahdon Israel.

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist

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“I worked on the book until I was about halfway done with it before I told anyone about it.” Adrian Tomine talks about his graphic memoir, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (Drawn and Quarterly, 2020), and how he was able to revert to his childhood version of making comics for his own amusement in this virtual Politics & Prose Bookstore event with critic Jason Zinoman. For more Tomine, read his answers to our Ten Questions.

Elif Shafak on Diverse Reading Lists

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“If we only read the same type of authors all our lives it’s like you’re only hearing one thread, one voice.” In this video from the 2019 Louisiana Literature festival, Elif Shafak talks about reading the same books over and over again as a child, and why it’s more inspiring to read “from East and West, fiction and nonfiction.”

In the Land of Good Living

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“The deal with Florida is the charlatans and lunatics and Snapchat-famous plastic surgeons. It is the Ponzi schemes, the byzantine corruption, the evangelical fervor and the consenting-adult depravity....” In this Books & Books virtual event, Kent Russell reads from his memoir, In the Land of Good Living (Knopf, 2020), and discusses Florida and his writing experience with author and sibling Karen Russell. In the Land of Good Living is featured in Page One in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Normal People Cast Q&A

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“It always feels to me…all the way through writing a project, that the characters are actually real people and my job is to do justice to them,” says Sally Rooney about writing and adapting the characters of her novel Normal People (Faber & Faber, 2018) to the screen for the BBC/Hulu television series in this Waterstones interview with director Lenny Abrahamson and actors Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal.

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My Meteorite

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“The most astonishing thing to happen in the almost 14 billion years since the birth of the cosmos is that ordinary, apparentle inert matter, has—by its self-organizing capacity (or, autopoesis)—become conscious.” Harry Dodge reads from his debut book, My Meteorite: Or, Without the Random There Can Be No New Thing (Penguin Books, 2020), and discusses its themes in a conversation with Maggie Nelson in their Los Angeles home.

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