Author Archive

Writing, Insecurity, and Eighth Grade

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Writers, like all artists, experience things twice—once in the moment, and again when attempting to draw out the details of what has happened to bring a work to life. In the digital age, however, many experiences have been stripped of vibrancy.

Remembering Pain in Allen Ginsberg’s “Kaddish”

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In “Kaddish,” Ginsberg bears witness to his mother’s pain and struggles; he intones her name over and over again as if to deify her. It is in that painful remembrance that, during that panicked time of terrorism and political instability, I drew hope.

Writing in the In-Between

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Writers squeeze writing in between their full-time work, even if they don’t talk about it. Journalist and TV anchor Jake Tapper did just that in writing his political thriller, which he wrote sometimes in intervals of only fifteen minutes at a time.

The Sheltering Sky and the Traveling American

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The tourists, travelers, and colonial police of The Sheltering Sky are mostly disaffected and unmoored Westerners who see their time in Algeria as temporary. The protagonist defines a tourist as someone who “generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months.”

Underemployment and George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier

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Although employment has been on the rise for several years, jobs that are available are often low wage or part time. And people still are losing work altogether: factory worker unemployment has been an issue for decades—especially in the Great Lakes region.

When Change Doesn’t Happen: School Shootings and the Piles of Novels That Follow

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Since the year after the Columbine tragedy, 2000, a total of 113 novels have been published in English about school shootings. The number of novels published on school shootings before Columbine? One.

Should Creative Writers Adopt the Same Objectivity Expected of Journalists and Historians?

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In this particular moment, journalists have come under fire for their presentation or concoctions of the “truth” with a capital T. They’re expected to write as objectively as possible, but writers, especially those who write historical fiction, have been known to bend facts in service of story and are

Vietnam and the Loss of Innocence

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The Vietnam War has long been recognized as a turning point in the United States as a country, in which Americans lost their “innocence” with regards to politics and war.

The Burden of Witness: The Sandcastle Girls, #MeToo, and The Armenian Genocide

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On April 24, 2015 I was in Istanbul when the hundred-year commemorations of the start of the Armenian Genocide were taking place. A group of Armenians, Turks, and foreigners ended a walk to remember the massacre.

Readerships Without Borders: An Interview with Michael Reynolds, Editor-in-Chief of Europa Editions

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I chatted with Michael Reynolds about his Bookselling Without Borders program, Europa Editions’ unique mission in the field of translation publishing, and how Reynolds’ life and time abroad informs his sensibilities as an editor.