Rachel Cusk on Her Writing Process

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“I got into the habit of writing very, very, very quickly,” says Rachel Cusk, author of the Outline trilogy and the essay collection, Coventry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), about taking long breaks from writing to live a normal life and the experience of being a mother to young children without the time to make notes. “I had to hold things and then find an opportunity to express them.”

Isabella Hammad

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“It’s really hard to inhabit the mind of another,” says Isabella Hammad, author of The Parisian (Grove Press, 2019), about the difficulties and joys of writing fiction in this Louisiana Channel interview. “You use your emotional experience, you use your literal experience, you use the experience of others you know to access imaginatively another subjectivity.”

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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.

Ariana Reines

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“My heart had recently cracked // Open. Fear had departed me.” Ariana Reines reads “To the Reader” from her poetry collection, A Sand Book (Tin House Books, 2019), and talks about the origins of the book, her writing background, and the power of poetry to reach the deepest levels of human experience in this Louisiana Channel interview.

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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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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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Blind Spot

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“As a photographer my looking really changed, it really did become sacred....” In this Louisiana Channel video, Teju Cole talks about and reads from his book of photography and text, Blind Spot (Random House, 2017), which was inspired by a short period of blindness in one eye that transformed his perspective on looking and attentiveness. The book is comprised of over a hundred fifty photographs interspersed with short lyrical prose pieces.

Hiromi Itō

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“I’m always watching the moon and the moonlight. But I didn’t write about it.” Japanese poet Hiromi Itō talks about how the moon is linked to the menstrual cycle and her decision to write about menstruation, and reads from her poem “Vinegar, Oil” from Killing Kanoko (Action Books, 2009), translated from the Japanese by Jeffrey Angles, at the 2018 Louisiana Literature festival in Denmark.

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Mariana Enriquez and Guadalupe Nettel

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Argentinean author Mariana Enriquez and Mexican author Guadalupe Nettel discuss their shared passion for dark and sordid aesthetics, writing about the body, blurred realities, and writers including Charles Baudelaire, Mircea Cărtărescu, and Philip Roth. Enriquez is the author of Things We Lost in the Fire (Hogarth, 2017), translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell, and Nettel is the author of After the Winter (Coffee House Press, 2018), translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey.

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Siri Hustvedt on Reading

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“Inside a novel, one has the opportunity to experience the ambiguous reality of a whole other consciousness. When you read, you are possessed by the voice of another.” In this 2017 Louisiana Channel interview, Siri Hustvedt talks about the transformative experience of reading novels. Hustvedt’s seventh novel, Memories of the Future (Simon & Schuster, 2019), is featured in Page One in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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