Author Archive

My Anthology

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After kindly reading some of my paeans to my favorite stories, people have asked me what the rest of my anthology would look like. To limit myself, I’ve decided to only include stories released since 1980, which seemed like a nice, round year, and I would argue that the

A Conversation with Jamil Zaki About Empathy and Writing

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I met Jamil Zaki at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2004. I had recently been in an, ahem, altercation, and the first thing that our workshop leader Daniel Wallace did upon greeting us was point at me and say, “So what’s your story?” After I sheepishly described the

The Follow Up: Jennine Capó Crucet

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I’m going to be talking to a few authors whose first books I admired and see what they’re working on in terms of a second book. One of the things that interests me here is how writers move from a shorter form to a longer one. Talking about the

The Follow Up: Don Waters

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I’m going to be talking to a few authors whose first books I admired and see what they’re working on in terms of a second book. One of the things that interests me here is how writers move from a shorter form to a longer one. Talking about the

Raising Expectations

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It happens in every great workshop. Somewhere in the first couple of weeks, you sit at your desk or on your couch and read through a story that completely and irrevocably alters your possibilities. Someone has written an amazing piece. All of a sudden, the story you were pleased

An Interview with Bruce Machart

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If I were building an anthology of my favorite stories, Bruce Machart’s “What You’re Walking Around Without” would certainly be included. It’s the kind of story that sticks with you for days on end, and still when I think of it, the images come rushing back—organs sloshing in the

The Importance of Community

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Initially, I think, the new writer figures they are committing to an Emily Dickinson life: isolated and lonely, accompanied only by a pen and paper. The life of a writer, however, has to be populated by others. It took me a long time to realize this. After college, I

The Follow-Up: Josh Weil

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I’m going to be talking to a few authors whose first books I admired and see what they’re working on in terms of a second book. One of the things that interests me here is how writers move from a shorter form to a longer one. Talking about the

Where It Came From

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A guy named Rob told me about noodling. I hadn’t known him long; he was a friend of a friend. We were drinking on a roof, which we did often in those days, in early 2000, outside Boston. This particular roof, a thin, slanted affair with a twenty-five foot

Interview with Curtis Harnack

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Sometimes the right thing simply happens at the right time, and everything falls into place so beautifully that it’s almost impossible to remember how you existed beforehand. So it was for me when I was accepted to Yaddo last fall, and ended up in a wonderful group of people.