Author Archive

So Your Character Wants to Be a Historian

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There’s no easy way to actually quantify this, but it feels like more and more characters I see in books are historians of some kind – regardless of their status, amateur or professional, these are characters who do sleuthing work about the past, consciously or not.

Stranger Stories: Storytelling and Dungeons & Dragons

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It’s always fascinated me, this seemingly inescapable impulse we have to turn events into stories, even when we don’t necessarily think we have storytelling abilities. Storytelling has always been crucial to human nature, or so we’re told.

Reinventing Writing Workshops

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Like it or not, MFAs, as programs that aim at the professionalization of writing, have always been the vehicle of cultural imperialism; the propensity to remove “ideology” from writing in order to improve the latter is thus basic hypocrisy.

Plenty of Pride & No Prejudice?

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A while ago, while browsing the local Barnes & Noble, a friend and I started discussing how we got into LGBTQ literature, and how much reading specifically queer authors had meant to us in times of turmoil, both personal and not. This was in the aftermath of the Orlando

“She had a face that would haunt me for the rest of my life”: Looking for Annemarie Schwarzenbach

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Grappling with the complexities of Annemarie Schwarzenbach’s life–falling in love with her, in a way–entails addressing not just her political and ideological stances in light of her personal relationships, but also the realities of queerness within history, and the interplay of both of these aspects.

MFA vs. Saint Germain des Près

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Over the past five years, France has witnessed, bemused, the emergence of a very special breed of master's programs—in creative writing. Today, in a country that’s supposedly one of the cradles of Western literature (or so we French love to believe), there are, all in all, three such programs.

Tarot in the Time of Uncertainty

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A friend I was visiting a while ago agreed to read tarot cards for me. I was a complete novice in the matter. The reading was about me picking up each card, describing what I saw, and then having my friend help me articulate my gut reaction to/analysis of

Home Is a Complicated Thing

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In Jhumpa Lahiri’s stories, immigrants live in a world defined by language, its possibilities, its dead-ends. The legal and political aspects of immigration don’t appear to be the biggest cause of trouble for the characters. Language, however, that first branch of culture, is another matter: characters must continuously code-switch,

In Books We Trust: On Reading and Building Identities

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For those of us who have found ourselves marginalized and rejected at some point in our lives because of who we are, books can offer a refuge from which we may attain some understanding of ourselves and the world.

“The wolf finally frees itself”: Talking With Brianna Albers

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Bodies in literature always bear the first marks of difference. What isn’t recognized as “normal” (meaning, not perceived as male, cis, straight, white), always verges on the monstrous, to be rejected or feared, or at the very least cloaked in mystery.