Ann Patchett Archive

On Accidental Books

Books, even books writers didn’t know they were writing, are born from discipline, by people who took their ideas seriously, even before they amounted to anything.

Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth Isn’t Just for Suburban Moms’ Book Clubs

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I am so into Ann Patchett right now. Is it hip to be into Ann Patchett? Is it edgy? No. It’s book clubby. It’s suburban mommy. My book club of suburban moms met last night and discussed Commonwealth. When we chose it, we laughed a little about what an

Squad Books

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Look, I’m not trying to be Internetty. But at the end of a year I’ve spent thinking a lot about friendship, I don’t want my last post to be another family tree. Instead, I want to write about books that are my friends. I want to write about the

The Family You Choose

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The Family You Choose In college my housemates and I once drew a social map of our class. This is similar. A web, not a tree. I’ve always been prone to intense friendships. Not best friendships, necessarily, or not in the one-and-only sense. I’m of the Mindy Kaling school

Literary Enemies: Ann Patchett v. Zadie Smith

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Literary Enemies: Ann Patchett vs. Zadie Smith Disclaimer: Zadie Smith doesn’t care if she has enemies. I have a recurring dream in which I meet Zadie Smith at a picnic. She compliments my leather jacket—Vintage? she asks—and we begin chatting, and in the end she offers to be my

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Night Island” by Mary Helen Specht

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I’m a believer that some story shapes lend themselves more readily to pieces of different lengths. The shape of Mary Helen Specht’s story, “Night Island” (Prairie Schooner, Winter 2014), is risky and surprising, and might not work as well in a longer story or novel. But it’s what allows

WORKSHOP OF FIRE!!!!

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It’s your senior year of college. What kind of writer are you? Do you start writing a story eight hours before it’s due? Do you fictionalize your latest fight with your jerk-face manager or diva housemate? Does every one of your stories read like a screenplay? Like a poem?

A Q&A Between Former Ploughshares Contributors Ethan Rutherford and Paul Yoon

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This guest post was contributed by Ethan Rutherford. —Andrew Ladd, blog editor. I recently moved, and while unpacking my books I stumbled upon an old issue of Ploughshares—Fall 2007, guest edited by Andrea Barrett. I don’t always keep my old literary journals, but I’ve kept this one because it