Michael Ondaatje

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“The lyric is a kind of small gift, and the fiction is more like putting on a theatrical production.” In this Louisiana Channel interview, Michael Ondaatje speaks about the differences in writing a poem versus a novel, his mentors, and what he discovers through the research that goes into his novels. Ondaatje recently won the Golden Man Booker Prize for The English Patient, and his novel Warlight (Jonathan Cape, 2018) is longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

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Siri Hustvedt on Art and Science

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“I think physicists and poets are not as different as we like to think. The same unconscious processes are at work in both.” In this interview from the 2017 Louisiana Literature festival in Denmark, Siri Hustvedt talks about her background in neuroscience, the experiences of writing both nonfiction and fiction, and the value of approaching questions from different interdisciplinary perspectives.

Olga Tokarczuk

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“I narrate in such a free manner that, I hope, inspires the reader.” In this interview for Louisiana Channel, Olga Tokarczuk talks about air travel and how it influenced the story structure for her most recent novel, Flights (Riverhead Books, 2018), translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft, which is longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize.

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John Giorno and William Burroughs’s Bunker

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Poet and painter John Giorno gives a tour of his home on the Bowery in New York City and points out William Burroughs’s former bunker bedroom, kept intact with his bed, typewriters, and a bull’s-eye target. The building was a frequent hangout of artists including Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko, and Robert Rauschenberg.

Colson Whitehead on Rejections

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“I became a writer once I realized no one liked my stuff. I just had no choice but to keep going and start a new novel.” In an interview for Louisiana Channel, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Colson Whitehead talks about how rejections of his first manuscript pushed him forward to pursue writing and why he enjoys exploring different genres.

An Interview With Paul Auster

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“I work on the paragraph as if it’s a little poem, as if it’s a musical composition...” In this interview with Louisiana Channel, Paul Auster talks about his writing habits, aging, creative obsession, his recent and upcoming projects, and the one-on-one intimacy that makes books different from other art forms.

Alaa Al Aswany

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“At some point I feel that the characters do exist...they become independent.” In this video from Louisiana Channel, Egyptian author Alaa Al Aswany speaks about how the characters in his novel The Yacoubian Building (American University in Cairo Press, 2004), translated from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies, began to take on a life of their own as he wrote them.

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Imbolo Mbue in New York City

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In this Louisiana Channel interview, Imbolo Mbue speaks about her love of New York City and the challenges of being black and working-class in America, which she explores in her debut novel, Behold the Dreamers (Random House, 2016). Mbue is one of the debut authors featured in “First Fiction 2016” in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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