Viet Thanh Nguyen on History and Memory

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“We were the unwanted, the unneeded, and the unseen, invisible to all but ourselves,” reads Washington Post’s Robin Givhan from Viet Thanh Nguyen’s latest novel, The Committed (Grove Press, 2021), in this conversation with the Pulitzer Prize–winning author on how history and memory have shaped his life and writing. 

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Toni Morrison on Beloved

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“I am convinced that the more I am well-known, the better known I am, the easier it is for other writers to come along,” says Toni Morrison in this 1987 interview with PBS NewsHour’s Charlayne Hunter-Gault on her success as an author and what inspired her novel Beloved, which won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.

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Written By Himself

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“I was born passing / off the problem of the twentieth century: I was born.” In this 2016 video, Gregory Pardlo reads “Written By Himself” from his Pulitzer Prize–winning poetry collection, Digest (Four Way Books, 2014), accompanied by the Finnish jazz combo Hot Heros at the Annikki Poetry Festival in Finland. For a writing prompt inspired by this poem, visit The Time Is Now.

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Poets in Space: Jericho Brown

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“We thought / Fingers in dirt meant it was our dirt, learning / Names in heat, in elements classical / Philosophers said could change us.” In this Paris Review video, Jericho Brown reads two poems from his most recent collection, The Tradition (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), for which he received the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Filmed in 2019 in the woods of Decatur, Georgia, “Poets in Space” was directed and produced by Daniel Grossman and Sean Webley in collaboration with the poet Malachi Black.

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Richard Powers on The Overstory

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“We like to think about people and nature as two separate things,” says Richard Powers speaking about his Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Overstory (Norton, 2018), in this PBS NewsHour interview. “This book is precisely a book that challenges that notion of human separatism.” For more Powers, read “A Talk in the Woods: Barbara Kingsolver and Richard Powers” from the November/December 2018 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Richard Powers and Barbara Kingsolver

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“You don’t need a lot of sensitivity or soul to feel moved by a redwood forest,” says Richard Powers about the origins of his Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Overstory (Norton, 2018). In this 92nd Street Y video, Powers joins Barbara Kingsolver, author of the novel Unsheltered (HarperCollins, 2018), for a reading and conversation with Kevin Larimer, editor in chief of Poets & Writers Magazine. The authors were featured in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Elif Batuman

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“The main advice I would have is to be really easy on yourself, to shut off as much as you can the voice that’s saying maybe you’re wasting your time, and maybe everything that you do is stupid.” Elif Batuman, a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for her debut novel, The Idiot (Penguin Press, 2017), talks to Granta about the literary model of Charles M. Schulz’s Snoopy and the blurred boundary between fiction and nonfiction.

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Evie Shockley

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“Poetry travels, you don’t need a lot of money to write it, you don’t need a lot of money to print it and distribute it.” Evie Shockley, a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her third collection, semiautomatic (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), talks with City of Asylum about the accessibility of writing poetry and its long and powerful tradition.

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