Sheila Heti’s First Time

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“I really was thinking like I have to work harder than any other writer in the world. I just wanted so badly to figure this out, to figure out how to write.” In this installment of the Paris Review’s “My First Time,” Sheila Heti discusses writing her first book, The Middle Stories (McSweeney’s, 2001), and how she came to write short stories after quitting theater school.

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Jeffrey Eugenides’s First Time

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“Each book that you write, you swim a long way from the pier at a certain point. You just don’t know what’s going to happen.... If you keep going, you’ll figure out how to shape the thing.” Jeffrey Eugenides recalls his experience writing his first book, The Virgin Suicides (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1993), for the Paris Review’s “My First Time” video series. Eugenides’s first story collection, Fresh Complaint (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017), is featured in Page One in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine

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Ben Lerner's First Time

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"I kind of always assume that you don't write the poem you want to write...that's actually quite freeing because it means you discover something in the act of composition that you didn't know in advance." Ben Lerner talks about his first poetry collection, The Lichtenberg Figures (Copper Canyon Press, 2004), for the Paris Review's "My First Time" video series. Lerner's first nonfiction book, The Hatred of Poetry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016), is featured in Page One in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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