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 Forgotten Waltz

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The Forgotten Waltz Anne Enright W.W. Norton and Company, October 2011 259 pages $15.95 This post was written by Caitlin O’Neil Amaral. For a second-generation Irish American like me, whose family has turned the old sod into a mythical land of sorrow and song, Anne Enright is a bracing

Lightning Rods

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Lightning Rods Helen DeWitt New Directions, Oct. 2011 $24.95 I tried describing Lightning Rods to my brother like this: “The book is about Joe, a salesman who sells glory holes and makes them a standard fixture in the bathroom stalls of corporate offices across America.” He grimaced. “This was

Innovators in Lit #15: Richard Nash

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Richard Nash is an independent publishing entrepreneur—VP of Community and Content of Small Demons, founder of Cursor, and Publisher of Red Lemonade. For most of the past decade, he ran the iconic indie Soft Skull Press for which he was awarded the Association of American Publishers’ Miriam Bass Award

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

Tolstoy: A Russian Life

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Tolstoy: A Russian Life Rosamund Bartlett Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 2010 560 pages $35 Tolstoy biographers almost have too much material to work with. Unlike Dickens, Tolstoy didn’t burn any of his 8,500 letters; unlike Hardy, he didn’t destroy large portions of his diaries. Instead, he carefully preserved all

Aftermath

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Aftermath Scott Nadelson Hawthorne Books, September 2011 $15.95 288 pages This post was written by Karen Sikola. There are days when everything seems unnervingly connected—when every song your iPod shuffles up seems determined to make sense of your current tribulations, when the top story on the evening news mirrors

Innovators in Literature: Instant Replay, Part 1

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  Since my days as a Ploughshares guest blogger are numbered (sniff!), I wanted to devote a little time to recapping some highlights from past Innovators in Literature interviews. We’ve got Adam Robinson on YA, Alice Sebold on difficult characters, Zach Dodson on what featherproof books really wants, Matt

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

An Interview with Zacharis Award Winner Christine Sneed

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We are happy to announce that Christine Sneed has won the twenty-first John C. Zacharis First Book Award for her short story collection, Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010). The $1,500 award, named after Emerson College’s former president, honors the