Ever since reading an early copy of Michael Nye’s first novel, ALL THE CASTLES BURNED, James has wanted to talk to the author of such an engaging and thought-provoking book. They discuss knowing good books from page one, declaring a new read dead, and writing sports scenes. Thankfully, they save their Celtics talk for off the air. Plus, poet Lauren Moseley, author of BIG WINDOWS.

Michael Nye

Michael and James discuss: 

Bruce Willis

HOSTAGE dir. by Florent Siri

FEEL FREE by Zadie Smith

SOME HELL by Patrick Nathan

BACK TALK: STORIES by Danielle Lazarin

THE FIFTH ELEMENT dir. by Luc Besson

PACHINKO by Min Jin Lee

HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL: ESSAYS by Alexander Chee

THE MISSOURI REVIEW

BOULEVARD

Jane Smiley

PREP by Curtis Sittenfeld

THE STARBOARD SEA by Amber Dermont

A SEPARATE PEACE by John Knowles

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger

THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach

Mitch Albom

John Birch

Tom Ripley

OUR HEARTS WILL BURN US DOWN by Anne Valente

Lauren Moseley

Lauren and James discuss:

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts

Yaddo

Alice Eve Cohen

Joellen Craft

NASHVILLE REVIEW

UNC- Greensboro

Carnegie Mellon University Press

Rebecca Morgan Frank

AWP Conference

THE GREENSBORO REVIEW

DEAR APOCALYPSE by K.A. Hays

In his first essay collection, UP UP DOWN DOWN, Cheston Knapp attends skateboarding camp for adults, recalls his fraternity days, looks for UFOs, and checks out the local wrestling circuit, all in the name of learning more about himself. He and James talk about the art of the essay, the search for community, editing at Tin House, and the difficulty they have living in the moment. Plus Scribner art director and designer Jaya Miceli on book covers.

Cheston Knapp

Cheston and James discuss:

David Foster Wallace

Charles D’Ambrosio

W. G. Sebald

HAMLET

Joan Didion

Zadie Smith

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Edmund Husserl

Leslie Jamison

A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER by Tom Clancy

Graham Greene

John LeCarre

Sarah Manguso

Maggie Nelson

Jaya Miceli

Jaya and James discuss:

UP UP DOWN DOWN by Cheston Knapp

Anna Laytham (designer)

Daniel Loedel

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

THE ANIMALS by Christian Kiefer

THE READY MADE THIEF by Augustus Rose

Marcel Duchamp

Viking Penguin

Helen Yentus (art director, Riverhead/ designer)

Riverhead Books

INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins

A SEPARATION by Katie Kitamura

THE INCENDIARIES by R.O. Kwon

MY ABSOLUTE DARLING by Gabriel Tallent

SING, UNBURIED, SING by Jesmyn Ward

Paul Buckley (art director, Penguin)

WEST by Carys Davies

Lauren Peters-Collaer (designer)

I’D DIE FOR YOU by F. Scott Fitzgerald

FLESH, BONE, WATER by Luiza Sauma

BRASS, the excellent first novel by Xhenet Aliu, mixes voice, humor, and simmering rage into the tale of a family that keeps ending up in the same rut. She and James talk about what they’re going to do when they grow up, not porn-ifying poverty, editing vs. new pages, and then give credit to the proofreaders out there. Plus, the wondrous Chip Cheek tells James about the writing and thrilling sale of his novel, CAPE MAY.

Xhenet Aliu

Xhenet and James discuss:

University of Alabama

Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

University of Georgia

Julie Barer

Avid Bookshop

The Old Pal

Chip and James discuss: 

Gunter Grass

Christopher Castellani

Grub Street

Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

Emerson College

Whitney Scharer

Jennifer De Leon

Becky Tuch

Celeste Ng

Adam Stumacher

Calvin Hennick

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Katherine Fausset

Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Laura van den Berg

Benjamin Percy

Josh Weil

Deb Futter

Jamie Raab

Celadon Books

Macmillan Publishing

Ren and Stimpy

Claire Fuller started writing to compete in a local short story slam. Then she started to win. Soon after, she earned an MA and has since written two novels, OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS and SWIMMING LESSONS. She and James talk about the torture of writing new material, the joy of editing, the reader response theory, and the practice of listening to music while writing. Plus, year-end reading recommendations from some of 2017’s guests!

Claire Fuller

Claire and James discuss:

Penguin Books

Tin House Books

Masie Cochran

Fuzzy Felt Green

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE by Shirley Jackson

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O’Brien

THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers

HOUSEKEEPING by Marilynne Robinson

LEGEND OF A SUICIDE by David Vann

Iron & Wine

Sam Beam

Townes van Zandt

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS (album) by Julien Baker

Margot Livesey

SOY SAUCE FOR BEGINNERS by Kirstin Chen

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (dir by Coens)

THERE WILL BE BLOOD (dir by PT Anderson)

MICHAEL CLAYTON (dir by Tony Gilroy)

ZODIAC (dir by David Fincher)

IDAHO by Emily Ruskovich

A SEPARATION by Katie Kitamura

Year-End Recommendations from:

Annie Hartnett, author of RABBIT CAKE:

THE HISTORY OF WOLVES by Emily Fridlund

THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY by Hannah Tinti

BORNE by Jeff VanderMeer

MOTHERIST by Kristen Iskandrian

THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett

PERFECT LITTLE WORLD by Kevin Wilson

GOD, THE MOON, AND OTHER MEGAFAUNA by Kellie Wells

ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy

 

Anne Valente, author of OUR HEARTS WILL BURN US DOWN:

THE ANIMATORS by Kayla Rae Whitaker

SING, UNBURIED, SING by Jesmyn Ward

THE HOUR OF LAND by Terry Tempest Williams

 

Tim Weed, author of A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER AND FLY FISHING:

ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy

HAVANA GOLD by Leonardo Pedura

 

Robert Repino, author of D’ARC:

THE ART OF COMIC BOOK WRITING by Mark Kneece

THE NEST by Kenneth Oppel

 

Amy P. Knight, author of LOST, ALMOST: 

STEPHEN, FLORIDA by Gabe Habash

THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt

OUTLINE by Rachel Kusk

 

Rachel Cantor, author of GOOD ON PAPER:

WE THE DROWNED by Carsten Jensen

THE LONG DRY by Cynan Jones

HOMESICK FOR ANOTHER WORLD by Ottessa Moshfegh

THE OLD FILTH TRILOGY by Jane Gardham

TUESDAY NIGHTS IN 1980 by Molly Prentiss

STORIES OF YOUR LIFE by Ted Chiang

THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY by Hannah Tinti

MEMOIR OF A POLAR BEAR by Yoko Tawada

 

Michael Farris Smith, author of DESPERATION ROAD: 

STONER by John Williams

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD dir by Andrew Dominik

 

Kelly J. Ford, author of COTTONMOUTHS: 

THE FACT OF A BODY by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

HERE COMES THE SUN by Nicole Dennis-Benn

A SEAT AT THE TABLE (album) by Solange

 

Daniel Wallace, author of EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES:

HEATING & COOLING: 52 MICRO-MEMOIRS by Beth Ann Fennelly

THE BOOK OF RESTING PLACES: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF WHERE WE LAY THE DEAD by Thomas Mira y Lopez

In order to learn to write, Frank Bill broke down the fiction that he loved. The lessons those books taught him have served him through a collection of short stories and two novels, the latest of which is THE SAVAGE. He and James talk about universe building, skipping the middle, and the film adaptation of DONNYBROOK. Plus, Jesse Donaldson on his tour of Kentucky for ON HOMESICKNESS.

Frank Bill

Frank and James discuss:

BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy

DETROIT: AN AMERICAN AUTOPSY by Charlie LeDuff

BEAT TO A PULP

THE MISSOURI REVIEW

“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin

Jason Starr

THE KILLER INSIDE ME by Jim Thompson

FIGHT CLUB by Chuck Palahniuk

Fyodor Dostoevsky

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS by Ernest Hemingway

THE ECSTATIC by Victor LaValle

JOE by Larry Brown

FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS by Hunter S. Thompson

Pink Floyd

Jamie Bell

James Badge Dale

Margaret Qualley

Frank Grillo

KINGDOM

James Landry Hebert

Tim Sutton

The Old Testament

DEADWOOD

David Milch

SUTREE by Cormac McCarthy

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN by Cormac McCarthy

Andrew Vachss

TRUE DETECTIVE

JAWS

SCALPED by Jason Aaron

Sean McDonald

Emily Bell

Jackson Howard

Jesse Donaldson

Jesse and James discuss:

Odysseus

The Israelites

Michel de Montaigne

Augusten Burroughs

West Virginia University Press

IN PLACE series

Becca Wadlinger

Danielle Delph

The Wolly Worm Festival

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

Parnassus Books

Square Books

LEXINGTON HERALD LEADER

Carry A. Nation House

Magoffin County Historical Society

Melanie Caine

Larry Flynt

Linda Riley

TUNNELING TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH by Kevin Wilson

Brier Books

Wild Fig Books

Crystal Wilkinson

Morris Books

The Kentucky Headhunters

Brandon Atwell

George Clooney

Nick & Nina Clooney

In her day job, Amy P. Knight is a lawyer specializing in death penalty cases. She has also written a fascinating and wholly original novel, LOST, ALMOST, which depicts the life of a physicist who works on nuclear weapons. She and James talk about the intricate structure of the novel, the warmth of her descriptions of science and math, and the virtues of writing by hand. Then, Whitney Scharer talks about the incredible deal for her debut novel, THE AGE OF LIGHT.

Amy P. Knight

Amy and James discuss:

AMERICAN PROMETHEUS: THE TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY OF J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

WAR GAMES

Freeman Dyson

Richard Feynman

Vassar College

Matthew Lansburgh

University of Arizona

THE IMPERFECTIONISTS by Tom Rachman

LIARS AND SAINTS by Maile Meloy

Ann Patchett

Whitney Scharer

Whitney and James discuss:

Peabody Essex Museum

Man Ray

Lee Miller

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Sonya Larson

VCCA

Sonya Larson

Julie Barer

Judy Clain

Little, Brown and Company

Grub Street

Harvard Book Store

After studying Spanish literature and embarking on a career as a lawyer, Matthew Lansburgh found fulfillment in writing. He won the Iowa Short Fiction Award for his linked short short story collection, OUTSIDE IS THE OCEAN. He and James discuss the spiritual fulfillment of writing, the need for dissatisfaction, the joys of close reading, and their shared love of outsiders in fiction. Plus, agent Christopher Rhodes.

Matthew Lansburgh

Matthew and James discuss:

Princeton University

Middlebury College

POET IN NEW YORK by Federico Garcia Lorca

RESIDENCIA EN LA TIERRA by Pablo Neruda

WISE BLOOD by Flannery O’Connor

TOWARDS ANOTHER SUMMER by Janet Frame

92nd Street Y

“The Bear Came Over the Mountain” by Alice Munro

Darin Strauss

Hannah Tinti

Josh Weil

Carmen Maria-Machado

Iowa Short Fiction Award

Christopher Rhodes

Christopher & James discuss:

Borders Books at World Trade Center

Simon & Schuster

Michael Selleck

The Carol Mann Agency

Paul Auster

University and North Carolina at Wilmington

Emily Smith

ECOTONE

James Fitzgerald

BRASS by Xhenet Aliu

Random House

Gwendolyn Knapp

The Stuart Agency

Andrew Stuart

Scottie Jones

Taylor Brown

Garth Risk Hallberg

Emma Cline

MARLENA by Julie Buntin

THE NIX by Nathan Hill

W.B. Belcher

Jared Yates Sexton

LAY DOWN YOUR WEARY TUNE by W.B. Belcher

Beth Staples

THE SCAMP by Jennifer Pashley

ONE STORY

“World’s End” by Clare Beams

Robert Repino had a couple of false start novels before setting out on The War With No Name series, which was inspired by a dream (really) and now includes three books: MORT(E), CUL-DE-SAC, and D’ARC. He and James discuss their MFA memories, learning to write, 80s nostalgia, and fans getting MORT(E) tattoos. Plus, Urban Waite and James talk about MFAs and creating your own residency.

Robert Repino

Robert and James discuss:

Emerson College

St. Joseph’s University Press

Arts Boston

TKTS

Pamela Painter

DeWitt Henry

David Emblidge

Aditi Rao

Jessica Treadway

Jennifer Weltz

Laura van den Berg

Urban Waite

Michael Mann

Kapo Amos Ng

Animal Farm

1984

GHOSTBUSTERS

BACK TO THE FUTURE

THE GODFATHER

LETHAL WEAPON

METROID

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

STAR TREK

MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

Urban Waite 

Urban and James Discuss: 
Emerson College

Western Washington University

University of Washington

Margot Livesey

St. Botolph Club

Vermont Studio Center

Chip Cheek

WHAT IF? WRITING EXERCISES FOR FICTION WRITERS ed by Pamela Painter & Anne Bernays

Richard Hoffman

Frederick Reiken

Lizzie Stark

Thomas Mallon

Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

Mineral School

AWP Conference

Sewanee Writers’ Conference

Yaddo

The Millay Colony

HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES, the dazzling debut by Carmen Maria Machado has garnered tremendous acclaim, including being named a finalist for the National Book Award. Carmen and James discuss never being done editing, her enviable file of images, and being thrown out of a plane. Plus, Editorial Director at Graywolf Press, Ethan Nosowski.

Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen and James discuss: 

Ethan Nosowsky

FIVE CHAPTERS

GRAYWOLF PRESS

THE NEW YORKER

I WANT TO SHOW YOU MORE by Jamie Quatro

Kelly Link

Kevin Brockmeier

Shuchi Saraswat

Kimberly Glyder

Aimee Bender

Karen Russell

Laura van den Berg

Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop

ANNIHILATION by Jeff Vander Meer

SMALL BEER PRESS

A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA Sofia Samatar

THE WINGED HISTORIES by Sofia Samatar

TENDER by Sofia Samatar

Sam J. Miller

Alyssa Wong

Alice Kim

TIN HOUSE

McSWEENEY’S

Yaddo

WOODCUTTERS by Thomas Bernhard

NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro

Ted Chiang

STRANGE HORIZONS

THE AMERICAN READER

Graywolf Press

Ethan and James Discuss:

National Book Award

IndieNext Pick

Page-Turner Blog

Kent Wolf

Graywolf Press

McSweeney’s

FSG

Oxford University Press

Fiona McCrae (Graywolf)

CLMP

Jeff Seroy (FSG)

Josh Glusman (Norton)

Robert Giroux

Alan Williams

Stephen King

Nadine Gordimer

John Steinbeck

MacMillan Publishing

Bruce Machart

Houghton-Mifflin

David Vann

TOMB SONG by Julian Herbert

Christina MacSweeney

Tracy K. Smith

A LUCKY MAN by Jamel Brinkley

THE CONVERT by Deborah Baker

THE LAST ENGLISHMAN by Deborah Baker

The legends of Josh Weil’s unique writing process precede him, but he and James try to get to the bottom of it, including how he comes up with his ideas, how he challenges himself, and whether his lucky slippers and mug travel with him. They touch on Josh’s award-winning books THE NEW VALLEY and THE GREAT GLASS SEA, but dive deep into his new collection THE AGE OF PERPETUAL LIGHT. Plus Cheston Knapp, editor at TIN HOUSE magazine, and an extra bonus with poet Javier Zamora, whose new poetry collection is UNACCOMPANIED.

Josh Weil

Josh and James discuss: 

THE AGE OF PERPETUAL LIGHT by Josh Weil

Leon Uris

Frederick Forsythe

“Angle of Reflection”

Steven Spielberg

STAND BY ME

STRANGER THINGS

Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

Jhumpa Lahiri

Grove Press

THE GREAT GLASS SEA by Josh Weil

“The Point of Roughness”

“No Flies, No Folly”

“Long, Bright Line”

VIRGINIA QUARTERLY

Hannah Tinti

ONE STORY

“The First Bad Thing”

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN by Cormac McCarthy

Yaddo

Cheston Knapp

Cheston and James Discuss:

“The Point of Roughness” by Josh Weil

“Drummond and Son” by Charles D’Ambrosio

Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop

Lance Cleland

Jim Shepard