Literary Hub8 min read
What Happens When You Pose as Susan Sontag on Twitter?
“One of the main (social) functions of a journal or diary is precisely to be read furtively by other people,” Susan Sontag once wrote, appropriately, in her journal. But it’s hard to imagine that she could have predicted a future in which almost 15,0
Literary Hub3 min read
Kevin Powers on an Unsung Classic of American Nature Writing
A few years ago when I lived in Texas a friend asked me if I had a favorite place. Without reflecting I said, “The James River,”  to which she replied, “The whole thing? Is a river a place?” I saw right away what a curious answer it was, though I had
Literary Hub17 min read
On Fact, Fiction, and Translating Lena Andersson
Seconds after I meet Swedish novelist Lena Andersson, an older man with a small dog interrupts us. We’re on the cobbles outside the building where I’ve rented an attic room in Stockholm. It is a bright, cold February day in 2017. Between the 18th-cen
Literary Hub8 min readPsychology
Real Or Fake? Stuck In The Glitching Reality Of Contemporary America
While I was in my early thirties, my parents died in impolite succession. My mother first, in 2010, then my father in 2012. He was in his early eighties, but she was 16 years younger and had no business going anywhere. They passed the illness baton f
Literary Hub7 min read
Binyavanga Wainaina On His Childhood In The Infancy Of The Kenyan Republic
It is Saturday. I fake a nosebleed, and Mum lets me go to work with her. I don’t want to see Sophia Mwela. I know she will come to the hedge between our houses and call out for Ciru and ask her where her American cousin is. She will be laughing. I am
Literary Hub3 min read
Ryan Chapman on Stolen Ideas and How Dark Your Comedy Can Go
This week, Maris talks to Ryan Chapman, author of Riots I Have Known. Chapman is a Sri Lankan American novelist originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has written online and in print for The New Yorker, GQ, Longreads, Guernica, Bookforum, BOMB, a
Literary Hub8 min read
As a Teacher of Gothic Lit, I Should Have Known Better Than to Move into a Haunted House
It started with wasps. At the end of our first year in the house, they ate through the walls. I would find, first, the dusty piles of plaster by the baseboards, the strange detritus materializing like unlikely anthills on the ugly green carpet. Only
Literary Hub6 min read
Six Of The Best Bad Women In Fiction
I’ve always felt it was the job of a good novel to dig in the dirt, which may be why the best ones always seemed to me to be the ones about women who were angry, sad, or just plain bad: women made reckless by ennui, women who resisted all the way, wh
Literary Hub6 min read
5 Reasons a Writer Should Move to Baltimore
I. You Have to Trust a City That Can Make “Ain’t it Hard Just to Live?” Sound Beautiful I came to Baltimore almost a year ago, happily, but with half a lifetime’s worth of suspicion: I grew up in and outside of D.C., where our nearest neighbor city w
Literary Hub6 min read
How Imagining Other Worlds Can Help You Imagine Other Selves
Of all the pleasures of speculative fiction, I may have missed world-building the most. Any compelling speculative world resembles ours enough to fascinate, but is also different enough to be visionary. Masters of the genre—like Margaret Atwood or
Literary Hub3 min readFood & Wine
Ann Beattie: What to Eat When Your Book Tour Comes to an End
Of course you can drink Bombay Sapphire straight from the bottle, with a shotglass of tonic water on the side, or indulge in a bag of Hershey’s Kisses (as much fun for your thumbs as texting), or scoop peanut butter straight from the jar with your fi
Literary Hub2 min read
Angie Kim On The Myth Of The Good Mother
On this week’s Reading Women, Autumn and Kendra talk with Angie Kim about her new book Miracle Creek, which is out now from Sarah Crichton Books. From the episode Autumn Privett: Can you talk about this concept of being a bad mother that shows up in
Literary Hub3 min read
Saskia Vogel on the BDSM Dungeons in Los Angeles Suburbs
Saskia Vogel is the guest on this week’s Otherppl. Her debut novel, Permission, is available from Coach House Books. Vogel was born and raised in Los Angeles and now lives in its sister city, Berlin, where she works as a writer and Swedish-to-English
Literary Hub8 min readSociety
On the Rebel Southern Daughter Who Fought to Expose White Supremacy
Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin’s classic autobiography, The Making of a Southerner (1946) propelled white southern self-writing away from moonlight-and-magnolias and toward searing regional critique. Katharine was the youngest of three remarkable sisters w
Literary Hub6 min read
Anna Deavere Smith: Some Notes on Notes from the Field
Notes from the Field is the most recent installment in what I consider my life’s work: a series of plays I call On the Road: A Search for American Character. Since the 1980s, I have periodically traveled around America, interviewing large numbers of
Literary Hub5 min read
Ebony Thomas on Seeking the Fantastic When the World Tells You Not To
“There is no magic.” This statement, perhaps most famously attributed to Harry Potter’s uncle Vernon Dursley, is also something that my mother has said to me since I was a child. Magic has long been under siege in my culture, social class, and hometo
Literary Hub12 min read
13 Common Mistakes in Book Reviewing and How to Avoid Them
It’s easy to see why writing criticism attracts so many authors, aspiring or established, and other students of literature: it offers the opportunity to highlight a love of books while showing off one’s own chops as a writer and thinker. Insightful c
Literary Hub5 min read
The Biggest Influence on My Novel Is… McDonald’s?
If you ask about the influences on my novel, I will button my tweed blazer, pretend to blush, and name Martin Amis or Roberto Bolaño, maybe Calvin and Hobbes. In literary circles these replies get the right nods, and getting the right nods is the who
Literary Hub9 min read
How Do We Reverse the Tide of an Anti-Science America?
We live in extraordinary times for the understanding of science. In May, 2010, the prestigious journal Science published a letter signed by 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences. It began “We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation
Literary Hub2 min read
The Boston Bookstore With A Focus On Writers Of Color
Frugal Bookstore, located in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, was founded by Clarrissa and Leonard Egerton with a focus on books by authors of color. What’s your favorite section of the store? My favorite section is African American Studies/Autobiograp
Literary Hub5 min read
“Make Them Care About What You Think” and Other Writing Advice from Nora Ephron
I’ve been rereading the work of American treasure Nora Ephron recently; this is something I can freely say at almost any time. Her birthday was this past weekend, but no one never really needs an excuse to revisit her genius. I do, on the other hand,
Literary Hub2 min read
‘Camp Fire,’ A Poem By Sam Sax
after the fires come rain & in the time between one devastation & another we delight in the normal pleasures of a sky weeping like an adolescent in a multiplex parking lot— how unusual for this place without water to be now drowned in it, people lift
Literary Hub7 min readTech
Walking Through the Woods of Midtown with Jessica Francis Kane
A Fake Phone Booth Jessica Francis Kane and I are standing at a fork in the path around Central Park’s pond, unsure which direction to go, when a scruffy-faced white man with a walkie talkie asks “Can I help you?” It’s one of those wonderful New York
Literary Hub6 min read
Trying to Figure Out Bruce Chatwin’s Unpublished Magnum Opus
In most secondhand bookstores and dusty attics, there are stacks of morose-looking books that have been sidelined by history. To call them outmoded might even be generous. Some of them are probably all but paperweights—old encyclopedias, out-of-date
Literary Hub4 min read
Can You Have a Meaningful Long-Distance Relationship with a Dog?
The year my parents brought home a golden retriever puppy from a neighbor’s backyard, we still used flip phones. I drove home from my college dorms and remember my dad showing me a pixelated photo of the puppy’s father. I named her Ella. She was six
Literary Hub9 min readSociety
Ani DiFranco On Reproductive Freedom And Taking On The Patriarchy
“To my children, whom I signed for at a time when I would’ve signed anything,” that’s what Adrienne Rich said when Oriane and I went to see her give a reading uptown one night. Those words followed me home. Mother Nature insists on wanton procreation
Literary Hub10 min read
Lisa Lucas Talks Robert Caro and the Injustices of NYC Urban Planning
Will Schwalbe: Hi. I’m Will Schwalbe, and you’re listening to But That’s Another Story. One of my favorite ways to learn history is by reading biographies. As a kid growing up near Boston, I fell in love with Esther Forbes’ magnificent Paul Revere an
Literary Hub6 min read
In India, One Publisher’s High-Stakes Fight for a Caste-Free Society
In May, 2015, Sagar Shejwal, a young, male nursing student in the west Indian state of Maharashtra, was murdered by a group of men who’d overheard his ringtone: a song praising Bhimrao Ambedkar, the controversial author of the Indian constitution, wh
Literary Hub4 min read
Lit Hub Weekly: May 13 – 17, 2019
TODAY: In 1953, James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain is published.   “Could it be that  masculinity itself is a violent ideology  ?”   Lacy     Johnson   on Rachel Louise Snyder and the names we give to violence. | Lit Hub  On discovering an
Literary Hub4 min readNutrition
On the Connection Between Gandhi’s Diet and His Politics
This week on New Books in Food, Carrie Tippen talks with Nico Slate, professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University, about the intersections between diet, spirituality, health, and politics for one of the world’s most famous nonviolent political
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