Remembering Toni Morrison

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“Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names.” The life of Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Toni Morrison is remembered through this 2004 interview for CBS Sunday Morning highlighting what was most important to her: being a mother and a writer. Morrison died at the age of eighty-eight on August 5, 2019.

The Need

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“The ‘need’ is many things in the book...a child’s need for milk and then also the mother’s need for the child to relieve her of the milk and the mother’s need for her children, that love going two directions.” On BRIC TV’s 112BK, Helen Phillips talks about her second novel, The Need (Simon & Schuster, 2019), different reactions to the book, her own experiences as a mother, and some of the inspiration for its themes. For more Phillips, read her answers to Ten Questions about her novel.

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The Nickel Boys

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“You pick the right tool for the job, and sometimes fantasy is a way to open up a story and convey a universal truth, and sometimes realism.” Colson Whitehead speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown about his writing process and the true story that inspired his latest novel, The Nickel Boys, which was published this week by Doubleday.

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Alexander Chee on His Writing Process

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“I like questions, my imagination likes them too.” In this A Word on Word series video, Alexander Chee speaks about his essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Mariner Books, 2018), and his writing process which involves engaging in conversation with his fictional characters.

Roughhouse Friday

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“Every conversation between us then had a way of spiraling into the same abyss. Real men were impossible to understand. Real men suffered. Real men were broken.” Jaed Coffin reads from his second memoir, Roughhouse Friday (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), which is featured in Page One in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, and talks about his experiences barroom boxing in Alaska with Kathryn Miles for Portland Public Library’s Literary Lunch series.

Yoko Tawada

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“I believe literature should always start from zero. So, I write stories in both languages on purpose.” In this Louisiana Channel interview, Yoko Tawada speaks in German, English, and Japanese about thinking and writing in two different languages and about her novel Memoirs of a Polar Bear (New Directions, 2016), translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky.

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Brian Evenson on Writing

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“My favorite form is the long short story or the novella because I think it allows you a little bit more breadth and scope in terms of what you can do.” Brian Evenson, whose eighth story collection, Song for the Unraveling of the World (Coffee House Press, 2019), is featured in Page One in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, reads from his work and talks about teaching, writing habits, and spirituality in this video from the 2014 Mission Creek Festival.

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Emilie Pine

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Emilie Pine talks about fear of failure, connecting to readers, being open about grief and loss, and the power of storytelling with Ireland Unfiltered’s Dion Fanning. Pine’s debut essay collection, Notes to Self (Dial Press, 2019), is featured in Page One in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Sally Rooney

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“I’m very skeptical of the way in which books are marketed as commodities, almost like accessories which people can fill their homes with,” says Sally Rooney in this interview at the 2018 Louisiana Literature festival in Denmark. Rooney’s second novel, Normal People (Hogarth, 2019), was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and will be adapted into a television series.

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