An introduction to Charles McLeod, author of the novel American Weather and a collection of stories called National Treasures (Outpost19/Random House UK). His fiction has appeared in publications including Conjunctions, DOSSIER, Eleven Eleven, The Gettysburg Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Iowa Review, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, and the Norton anthology Fakes. McLeod was born in Texas, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and now lives in Colorado. Since 2000, he’s held eleven addresses in eight states. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘books’ Category
An introduction to Peter Mehlman, author of Mandela Was Late: Odd things & essays from the Seinfeld writer who coined yada, yada, and made spongeworthy a compliment (The Sager Group, 2013). Mehlman is a multiple Primetime Emmy Award nominee, known for his work on the sitcom Seinfeld. He has won acclaim for his NPR commentaries and hilarious and poignant op-eds and personal essays in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Huffington Post, and Esquire. Host of the Webby-nominated YouTube series Narrow World of Sports, Mehlman grew up in Queens, New York, graduated from the University of Maryland, and now lives in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to Aaron Shurin, whose latest poetry collection is Citizen (City Lights Books, 2012). Shurin is the author of over a dozen books, both poetry and essay collections. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Gerbode Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the California Arts Council. He cofounded the Boston-based writing collective Good Gay Poets and was the director of the MFA in Writing program at the University of San Francisco.
When asked if he has a philosophy for how and why he writes, Shurin answered, “Poetry is attention, and it is the means of attending experience. Attention is the key word both for what it requires and what its nature is.” And that sense of attention comes through when you read his work. One of the pleasures of Shurin’s poetry is the focus on sound and rhythm. It makes for a powerful experience to hear him read. He doesn’t rush the words—each phrase has its own breath, deliberately chosen to add meaning, and momentum builds throughout the poem. Shurin graciously read some poems exclusively for this interview. Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to Erica Bauermeister, author of the novels The School of Essential Ingredients, Joy For Beginners, and The Lost Art of Mixing (Putnam Books, 2013). Bauermeister’s new book brings back a few familiar characters from her first book and introduces some fresh faces. At Rakestraw Books last month, Bauermeister talked about her writing process and how this novel came together in bursts and small sections, like fireworks building toward a finale. It pulls the reader in effortlessly, even if you haven’t read The School of Essential Ingredients. Each chapter explores a different character’s perspective, and readers gain insight into every side of the story. Add in the delectable descriptions and details that pepper Bauermeister’s prose and you’ve got an elegant and fulfilling read. You’re in for a treat with Erica Bauermeister.
An introduction to Ron Currie, Jr, author of the novels Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles (Viking, 2013), Everything Matters!, and God is Dead. Currie has won the Young Lions Award from the New York Public Library, and the Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His latest novel is a wild ride, full of heart and heat. When asked where the idea came from for Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, Currie said, “From my life, mostly.”
An introduction to Mark L Arywitz, author of the novel The Legend of Little Great Grandfather (TheWriteDeal, 2012). Arywitz’s background in writing for the screen instilled in him that “it’s not only about good prose, I’m also going for a story that has some narrative drive.” His screenwriting credits include the feature film “Just Before Dawn,” the TV drama “Mozart’s Requiem,” and many commissioned screenplays, among them “Holier Than Thou.” Arywitz teaches in the Department of Film & Television in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The Legend of Little Great Grandfather is his debut novel, and the first in a trilogy in progress. Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to David Budbill, author of the book Park Songs: a Poem/Play (Exterminating Angel Press, 2012). Happy Life, his most recent book of poems, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2011. Two other Budbill books have also been published by Copper Canyon Press, While We’ve Still Got Feet and Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse. His latest play, A Song for My Father, premiered at Lost Nation Theatre in Montpelier, Vermont, in the spring of 2010 and will be produced again in Salinas, California, at The Western Stage in 2013. Budbill’s prizes and honors include The Vermont Arts Council’s Walter Cerf Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Play Writing Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, and The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award for Fiction. When asked about the role of humor in Park Songs, Budbill said, “All I know is, I can’t live my life without humor and neither can my characters.” Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to journalist Bill Hutchinson, the author of the memoir Sushi and Black-Eyed Peas (TheWriteDeal e-leaf, 2012). A senior writer for the New York Daily News, Hutchinson has also worked as a reporter for the Boston Herald, the Fresno Bee, the Contra Costa Sun and the Daily Ledger-Post Dispatch in the California Delta. Hutchinson grew up in Central California, the youngest son of an Okinawan mother and a Black, Irish Cherokee father. He began to write his memoir because “too many kinfolk were dying and taking great stories to their graves.” Read the rest of this entry »
An introduction to Lissa Evans, author of the new novel Horten’s Incredible Illusions (Sterling, 2012). This book is the sequel to Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms, Evans’s first novel featuring young Stuart, and written with a middle-grade or junior high school audience in mind. Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms was short-listed for the Carnegie Medal, the Costa Book Awards, and UK Literacy Association’s Children’s Book Award, and long-listed for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Branford Boase Award. Her adult fiction includes the novels Spencer’s List and Odd One Out. As the cover blurb reveals, “Lissa Evans’s route to children’s fiction author is perhaps as roundabout as Stuart’s adventures in Beeton.” Evans embarked on a career in medicine, then moved briefly to stand-up comedy, and became a comedy producer in radio and television before finding her voice as an author.
An introduction to Jim Lynch, author of Truth Like the Sun (Knopf, 2012), Border Songs, and The Highest Tide. Lynch’s history as a journalist shines through in his new novel, and in the delightful, conversational, and inquisitive way he manages to draw you out while you’re interviewing him. Lynch shared that his latest book “started with my desire to write a very urban novel . . . I also wanted to write a book about power and ambition, and journalists and politicians—all the gray morality involved in all that.” So yes, it would be easy to say this book is about politics, journalism, and cities, and leave it at that. What has stayed with me after reading it is that in its heart Truth Like the Sun is about people and growing up. Nobody’s perfect, and you can’t escape who you are; you can’t escape the past. Part of growing up, no matter how long it takes, is recognizing those things, and that goes for people and cities. As Lynch explained, and his characters illustrate, it is not easy “to size people up and try to boil down their integrity into a nice, neat newspaper article.” There’s always more than one side to a story. Read the rest of this entry »