Aracelis Girmay on Writing Your Story

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“I wanted to hear the histories that were not taught to me in books, I wanted to know what I didn’t know.” In this 826NYC video, Aracelis Girmay speaks about how reading and hearing her family’s stories inspired her to become a poet. A Q&A with Girmay on becoming the first editor-at-large of BOA Editions’ line of poetry books written by women of color appears in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Joyce Maynard on Writing a Memoir

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“There’s nothing more riveting on the page than somebody willing to honestly tell what that life is,” says Joyce Maynard, author of the memoirs At Home in the World (Picador, 1998) and The Best of Us (Bloomsbury, 2017), about the roots of writing a memoir in this CreativeLive video.

Eimear McBride and Discovery

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“It doesn’t interest me to know how a book will end, I have to discover that for myself.” In this video from the National Centre for Writing, Eimear McBride, who won the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for her debut novel A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, speaks about how character and story and the process of discovery are the keys to her writing process.

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Story and The Writer

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“This is how you tell a story,” says narrator Tilda Swinton in a short film written and directed by Andrew Ondrejcak, which goes through six steps of a writer’s process paired with a dance choreographed by Kyle Abraham. “There is a problem. It is an obstacle so monumental that it seems unlikely our tiny protagonist will be able to overcome something so impressive. It’s a mountain pressing down, it’s a witch, a curse, a giant.”

Cocktails With Benjamin Percy

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“I love To the Lighthouse, but they never get to the lighthouse.” In this episode of Cocktails With Bright Antenna, Benjamin Percy talks about the differences between literary fiction and genre fiction, how some writers are gardeners and some are architects, and reveals the origins of his phobias. Percy’s latest book, Suicide Woods (Graywolf Press, 2019), is featured in Page One in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Laura Lippman on Visual Outlines

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“There comes a point where you’ve gotten so deep into the novel that the words don’t really make sense anymore,” says Laura Lippman as she describes the need for a tactile writing process involving visual and colorful outlines. Lippman’s latest novel, Lady in the Lake (William Morrow, 2019), is set in 1960s Baltimore and follows a housewife turned aspiring reporter who pursues the murder of a forgotten young woman.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates on Why He Writes

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“I just felt this deep need to express myself.... I had a strong desire to understand and to express that understanding.” In this CBS Sunday Morning interview, Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about the purpose of his writing and how the music of Marvin Gaye influences the language in his work. Coates’s debut novel, The Water Dancer (One World, 2019), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

The Nickel Boys

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“You pick the right tool for the job, and sometimes fantasy is a way to open up a story and convey a universal truth, and sometimes realism.” Colson Whitehead speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown about his writing process and the true story that inspired his latest novel, The Nickel Boys, which was published this week by Doubleday.

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Alexander Chee on His Writing Process

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“I like questions, my imagination likes them too.” In this A Word on Word series video, Alexander Chee speaks about his essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Mariner Books, 2018), and his writing process which involves engaging in conversation with his fictional characters.

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