Elizabeth McCracken

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"A novel is a historic reenactment and a short story is a diorama." Elizabeth McCracken discusses the different challenges of writing a novel and a short story, and reads from her latest collection of short stories, Thunderstuck (Dial Press, 2014), at the 2014 Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. McCracken will deliver the keynote on January 9 at Poets & Writers Live in Austin, Texas.

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Ben Fountain

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Ben Fountain reads from his novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, 2012), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, at the 2012 National Book Award finalists reading in New York City. Fountain will join the Why We Write panel on January 9 at Poets & Writers Live in Austin, Texas.

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A Celebration of Primo Levi

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"I was captured by the Facist Militia on December 13 1943." So begins Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz, republished as If This Is a Man in the new three-volume collection, The Complete Works of Primo Levi (Liveright, 2015), edited by Ann Goldstein. Robert Weil, David Remnick, and John Turturro read selections from the edition at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.

Sy Montgomery

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"She could taste with all of her skin, including her eyelids." Author and naturalist Sy Montgomery describes her first meeting with Athena, a giant Pacific octopus, at the New England Aquarium in Boston. This encounter spurred her to write The Soul of an Octopus (Atria Books, 2015), a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Sally Mann

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"Whether I was born this way or my personality was formed by circumstance, I don't think anyone would call me an easy person to deal with..." Photographer Sally Mann reads from her memoir, Hold Still (Little, Brown, 2015), a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Ada Limón

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"What puts the mean in some of us?" Ada Limón reads her elegy, "Marketing Life for Those of Us Left," in this video for the Academy of American Poets. Limón's fourth poetry collection, Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions, 2015), is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award.

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The Conversation

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“You can be honest. This / is Godspeed-less, workaday chatter.” Sandra Beasley reads her poem, “The Conversation,” at the National Archives, which has partnered with the Academy of American Poets to present original poems inspired by the holdings of the National Archives. Read “Mermaids and Matryoshkas: The Secret Life of a Poetic Sequence” by Beasley in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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