Marissa Bell Toffoli

Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Interview With Writer Jane Hirshfield

In books, literary journals, poetry, writing on December 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm
Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield. Photo by Robert Hatch.

An introduction to poet Jane Hirshfield, author of the new collection Come, Thief (Alfred A Knopf). When asked whether the poems of Come, Thief reflect any particular concerns of hers, Hirshfield begins with, “One lifelong theme for me has been saying yes to what’s difficult.”  Hirshfield is the author of six previous collections of poetry, a book of essays called Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, and four books collecting the work of poets from the past. Her accolades include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the Academy of American Poets, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as three Pushcart Prizes, the California Book Award, The Poetry Center Book Award, and more. Her poems appear regularly in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Poetry, and have been included in six editions of The Best American PoetryRead the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Todd Shimoda

In art, books, fiction, writing on December 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm
Todd Shimoda

Todd Shimoda. Photo by Linda Shimoda.

An introduction to Todd Shimoda, author of the novel Oh! A Mystery of ‘Mono no Aware’. Shimoda’s other books include The Fourth Treasure and 365 Views of Mt. Fuji. This latest book, Oh!, was selected as an NPR Summer Read, and Todd Shimoda won the Elliot Cades Award for Literature, the highest literary honor in Hawaii. Besides writing novels, Shimoda is Vice President of Chin Music Press, and Director of Product Design and Development at SF Design Associates.

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Interview With Writer Sebastian Barry

In books, fiction, plays, poetry, writing on October 14, 2011 at 9:51 pm
Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

An introduction to Sebastian Barry, author of the novel On Canaan’s Side (Viking, 2011). Novelist, poet, and playwright, Barry lives and writes in Ireland. His plays have been produced in London, Dublin, Sydney, and New York. His novel A Long Long Way was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, as was The Secret Scripture, which was also a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award and the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction, as well as the Irish Novel of the Year. It was also selected as the Best Book of the Year by The Boston Globe and The Economist. Though not a stage performer himself, Barry possesses a talent for dramatic delivery that makes for a luxurious, mesmeric experience when he reads his work aloud.

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Interview With Writer Joshua Mohr

In books, fiction, writing on October 10, 2011 at 9:04 pm
Joshua Mohr

Joshua Mohr. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

An introduction to Joshua Mohr, author of Termite Parade, Some Things That Meant the World to Me, and the new novel Damascus (Two Dollar Radio, 2011). Mohr’s latest book details the intersecting lives of a few rough-and-tumble characters whose paths converge at a dive bar in San Francisco’s Mission District. It’s a novel that embodies the grit, uncertainty, and strength of desire that line real life. Don’t let the dark nature of the story be an obstacle, Mohr has a way of illuminating the heart of outwardly unsavory characters. Just as his candid prose pulls readers into his writing, Mohr’s genuine, warm manner will draw you in if you have a chance to meet him in person.

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Interview With Writer Laura Lee

In books, fiction, nonfiction, writing on October 3, 2011 at 7:46 pm
Laura Lee

Laura Lee. Photo courtesy of the author.

An introduction to Laura Lee, author of the new novel Angel (Itineris, 2011), and 12 other nonfiction books. Lee’s nonfiction books include Broke is Beautiful, the Elvis Impersonation Kit, Blame It on the Rain, and 100 Most Dangerous Things in Everyday Life. Her debut novel raises issues related to faith and sexuality that have brought Lee some marketing challenges. In this interview, Lee lets readers in on her writing process and also discusses the publication process for Angel.

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Interview With Writer Matthew Zapruder

In books, editors, poetry, writing on September 25, 2011 at 9:49 pm
Matthew Zaprduer

Matthew Zapruder. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

An introduction to the author of the poetry books Come On All You Ghosts, The Pajamaist, and American Linden. Poet, editor, and teacher, Zapruder does it all. When asked about why he writes, he concluded: “I think that people are most happy when they do things that are deeply connected and integrated with who they are, and that fulfill that need in themselves to feel connected to others and productive.” Zapruder is interested in communicating by harnessing the power of language to share thoughts and moments in beautiful ways, in talking to people about poetry and what poetry can do in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Sue Johnson

In books, fiction, poetry, writing on September 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm
Sue Johnson

Sue Johnson. Photo by Bob Woodroofe.

An introduction to writer Sue Johnson, author of the new novel Fable’s Fortune (Indigo Dreams, UK). A Home Study Tutor for Writers’ News Magazine, Johnson also organizes her own brand of writing workshops. She publishes Writer’s Toolkit booklets designed to help new writers. Johnson’s book on writing novels, Creative Alchemy: 12 Steps From Inspiration to Finished Novel, will be published by HotHive Books in October 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Sheida Mohamadi

In books, censorship, journalism, poetry, translation, writing on August 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm
Sheida Mohamadi

Sheida Mohamadi. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

Editor’s Note
I publish these interviews to explore the different ways writing sculpts the lives of writers—young and old, emerging and established, writers in all genres and from around the world. Iranian journalist, poet, and novelist Sheida Mohamadi’s story is especially interesting to me as a case for how critical it is to find a way to fight for what matters to you. I admire what she has given in pursuit of her beliefs, and in hope of creating change in the world. Talking with Sheida reminded me how undeniably lucky I am to have been born in a place where freedom of expression is a mainstay of society, in an era when striving for equal rights does not necessitate risking the loss of my life, and I am not in danger of being exiled for my art. This interview is substantially longer than others because of my deep interest in understanding more about what it means to live as an artist under censorship. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Catherine McNamara

In books, fiction, short stories, writing on July 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm
Catherine McNamara

Catherine McNamara. Photo by Finley McNamara-Provencal.

An introduction to writer Catherine McNamara whose novel The Divorced Lady’s Companion to Living in Italy (Indigo Dreams, UK) will be released in October 2011. McNamara grew up in Sydney, Australia, went on to travel and live in five other countries, and currently resides in Italy where she works as a translator and writer. Her children’s book Nii Kwei’s Day was published by Frances Lincoln, and her short stories have appeared in numerous publications including Wasafiri (forthcoming in 2012), The View From Here, Kerouac’s Dog, Australian Reader, and Pretext.

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Interview With Writer Jeff Gillenkirk

In books, fiction, writing on June 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm
Jeff Gillenkirk

Jeff Gillenkirk. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

An introduction to Jeff Gillenkirk, author of the new novel Home, Away (Chin Music Press, 2011). His is also the author of an award-winning nonfiction book, and his writing has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, and other publications. In Gillenkirk’s debut novel, the main character, Jason Thibodeaux, has a contract to pitch for the Colorado Rockies when the son he lost in a custody battle re-enters his life. With baseball as a backdrop, Home, Away explores family, what it means to be a father, and what people do for the ones they love. It’s the perfect Father’s Day read, and an inspiring look at how families can learn to pull together to face challenges in life. Read the rest of this entry »

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