“I’m Trying to Demonstrate in a Way That Autobiography is Impossible”: An Interview With Brad Phillips

I didn’t know what to expect when Essays and Fictions showed up in my mailbox. All I really knew was that the guy who wrote it was a really talented artist from Canada named Brad Phillips. And also Tyrant Books was publishing it. Seemed up my alley, all of their stuff usually is. This one was different, though. It seemed more serious. And it is. Addiction plays a huge role for starters. And then there is death and fear and grief and identity. There’s a lot of love, too. As soon as I started reading it, I knew I was reading something special. Brad Phillips isn’t only a great visual artist from Canada, he’s a great writer as well, and this book may well be the closest thing to an instant classic I’ve chanced to read before its release.

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“I Wouldn’t Compromise My Vision for What I Perceived This Anthology to Be”: Jennifer Baker on the Making of “Everyday People”

In fourteen dazzling, exquisite, carefully selected stories, including by some of our most famous authors, ranging from Alexander Chee, to Yiyun Li, to Jason Reynolds, the brilliant anthology Everyday People fills a need for diversity while also raising haunting questions. How different would mainstream anthologies, like Best American Short Stories, O’Henry Stories, and others look, if the gatekeepers were consistently people of color, trans, non-binary and other editors from the margins? How different would MFA programs, and in turn, publishing, look? What will the world be like, when all the homogeneity leaves us? In her eloquent and thoughtful discussions about how the stories were selected and what they mean, Jennifer Baker points the way forward for #WeNeedDiverseBooks, in the form of a rigorous intellectual and critical engagement of what makes for a masterfully-told story.

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Six Ridiculous Questions: Michael A. Ferro

The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.

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Six Ridiculous Questions with duncan b. barlow

The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.

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“There Are No Cures”: Marian Womack on Writing “Lost Objects”

The stories found in Marian Womack‘s collection Lost Objects haunt the reader from a number of angles. Whether she’s writing about climate change and environmental catastrophes writ large or about subtler and more personal betrayals, Womack creates worlds in which the ground is constantly shifting–sometimes both metaphorically and literally. Her fiction blends a fantastic sense of place with a haunting glimpse of the near future; it’s work that’s difficult to shake–which is the point. I asked Womack some questions about her work via email, covering everything from the science of her stories to the role of translation in speculative fiction.

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“I Love the Act of Forming Words”: An Interview With Chaya Bhuvaneswar

White Dancing Elephants, the debut collection from Chaya Bhuvaneswar, is a powerful literary statement in its stylistic range, its willingness to engage with powerful themes, and its geographic and temporal shifts. Whether she’s writing about characters grappling with their own mortality and that of the people closest to them or veering into more fantastical realms, Bhuvaneswar roots her work in recognizable (and often wrenching) emotion, making for powerful and compelling fiction. I talked with her about the collection’s themes, her upcoming work, and more.

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Six Ridiculous Questions: Jan Elizabeth Watson

The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.

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“I Wanted Occasional Hits of Intimacy”: Jeff Jackson On Writing “Destroy All Monsters”

Jeff Jackson‘s latest book, the novel Destroy All Monsters, follows through on the promise of his earlier books Mira Corpora and Novi Sad. It’s a haunting book about an epidemic of killings at rock concerts–one that feels at once horrifyingly contemporary and unsettlingly timeless. Through a birfurcated structure, Jackson offers up two distinct visions of this setting, each of which overlaps with the other in unexpected ways. Robert Lopez chatted with Jackson about his new book, its structure, and playwriting’s lessons for fiction.

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