In all of his conversations, James has never found anyone who approached the craft of writing with the scientific common sense of Julie Lekstrom Himes. They discuss her debut novel, MIKHAIL AND MARGARITA, and the tremendous amount of work she put into her research in order to understand Russian culture, tracing it all the way to its origins. Plus, Michael Reynolds, Editor-in-Chief of Europa Editions.

 

Julie Lekstrom Himes

Julie and James Discuss:

Grub Street

Fine Arts Work Center

Jim Shepard

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

Margot Livesey

Hannah Tinti

Daniel Wallace

New York State Summer Writers Institute

THE MASTER AND MARGARITA by Mikhail Bulgakov

THE WHITE GUARD by Mikhail Bulgakov

A YOUNG DOCTOR’S NOTEBOOK by Mikhail Bulgakov

LIE DOWN IN DARKNESS and THE CONFESSIONS OF NAT TURNER by William Styron

THE QUIET AMERICAN by Graham Greene

I REMEMBER by Joe Brainard

Europa Editions

Michael and James Discuss:

Edizioni E/O

THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG by Muriel Barbery

OLD FILTH by Jane Gardam

THREE WEEKS IN DECEMBER by Audrey Schulman

Elena Ferrante

MIKHAIL AND MARGARITA by Julie Lekstrom Himes

In 2004, Daniel Wallace led a workshop at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference that changed James’s life. They reconnect to discuss Daniel’s wonderful new book, EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES, and in the process touch on not trusting compliments, using word clouds, writing sex scenes, and why no one is named Crouton. Then, Kelly Luce joins the show to talk about working with Denis Johnson, who passed away on May 24.

Daniel Wallace

James and Daniel Discuss:

Hannah Tinti

Gordon Lish

Columbia University

Amy Hempel

ESQUIRE MAGAZINE

Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

ONE STORY

Thomas Edison

Leo Tolstoy

Kelly Luce

Kelly and James Discuss:

Denis Johnson works-

JESUS’ SON

TRAIN DREAMS

TREE OF SMOKE

ANGELS

FISKADORO

THE NAME OF THE WORLD

Thomas Pynchon

Joy Williams

“The Late Homecomer” by Mavis Gallant

The Book of Jonah

“Gambling Hans” by the Grimm Brothers

The author of the gripping new true crime/memoir, THE FACT OF A BODY, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich tells James that “the book teaches you how to write it.” They talk about how those lessons evolved over a decade of work, as well as earning the story, engaging with darkness, measuring the emotional impact of working on a memoir versus finishing one, and geeking out over the work of Maggie Nelson. Plus Colin Dickerman, editor at Flatiron Books.

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Alexandria and James discuss

Mike Scalise

The Muse and the Marketplace

Celeste Ng

Jung Yun

Emerson College

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FACE by Lucy Grealy

SHOT IN THE HEART by Mikal Gilmore

FULL BODY BURDEN: GROWING UP IN THE NUCLEAR SHADOW OF ROCKY FLATS by Kristen Iversen

NOW WRITE! NONFICTION by Sherry Ellis

SON OF A GUN: A MEMOIR by Justin St. Germain

DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY by Erik Larson

DRIVING MR. ALBERT by Michael Paterniti

The Writer’s Room in Boston

Sven Birkerts

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

THE HALF-KNOWN WORLD: ON WRITING FICTION by Robert Boswell

BLUETS by Maggie Nelson

JANE: A MURDER by Maggie Nelson

 

Flatiron Books 

Colin and James Discuss

Flatiron Books

The Penguin Press

THE PARIS REVIEW

Joy Williams

Norman Rush

Lydia Davis

Stephen King

A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara

Marc Maron

THE KINGS OF BIG SPRING by Bryan Mealer

OLIVER LOVING by Stefan Merill Block

Nickolas and James have an honest conversation about the publishing industry and Nickolas’s young career, which has featured three great books, including his most recent novel, THE HEARTS OF MEN. They touch on subjects ranging from how Nickolas started taking writing seriously to becoming an Eagle Scout to attending Iowa to Gordon Lightfoot to Cormac McCarthy’s table tennis skills. Plus, Nickolas’s agent Rob McQuilkin.

Nickolas Butler

Nickolas and James discuss:

Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Square Books

Cormac McCarthy

Canterbury Booksellers

Jim Harrison

POACHERS by Tom Franklin

THE NEW VALLEY by Josh Weil

IN THE LOYAL MOUNTAINS by Rick Bass

Dean Bakopoulos

Jeremiah Chamberlin

LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding

Kent Haruf

JIM THE BOY by Tony Earley

FIGHT CLUB by Chuck Palahniuk

Rob McQuilkin

Rob and James Discuss

EO Wilson

Louisa May Alcott

Jhumpa Lahiri

THE HEARTS OF MEN by Nickolas Butler

Lexi Wangler

Eve GleichmanSHOTGUN LOVESONGS by Nickolas Butler

BENEATH THE BONFIRE by Nickolas Butler

PLOUGHSHARES

OUTSIDE VALENTINE by Liza Ward

Maria Massie

Megan Lynch

Tom Perrotta

Peter Ho Davies

Hemmed in by what she ‘should’ be writing, Clare Beams turned a corner by freeing herself to write what would become the title story in her phenomenal collection WE SHOW WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED. James was fortunate enough to edit one of Clare’s stories for ONE STORY, and they discuss that experience as well as putting her collection together, how she ignored advice to maintain a consistent level of weird, and exploring the limitlessness of short fiction. Plus Emily Smith, publisher at Lookout Books, describes the unique program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Clare Beams

Clare and James discuss:

Columbia University

“The School” by Donald Barthelme

Kelly Link

Aimee Bender

Alice Munro

Hannah Tinti

Annie Hartnett

HAYDEN’S FERRY REVIEW

ECOTONE

LOOKOUT BOOKS

THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY

THE NEW YORKER

ONE STORY

Beth Staples

Emily Smith

Erin Kottke

BINOCULAR VISION by Edith Pearlman

PEN: Robert Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction

Young Lions Fiction Award

Lookout Books

Emily and James discuss:

The Sewanee Writers’ Conference

Michelle Brower

ECOTONE

National Endowment for the Arts

Association of Writing Programs

David Gessner

Jeff Sharlet

The Publishing Laboratory

Stanley Colbert

THE BOTTLE CHAPEL AT AIRLIE GARDENS: A TRIBUTE TO MINNIE EVANS

BACKYARD CAROLINA by Andy Wood

THE HATTARASMAN by Ben Dixon MacNeill

BINOCULAR VISION by Edith Pearlman

GOD BLESS AMERICA by Steve Almond

Beth Staples

Anna Lena Phillips Bell

Melissa Crowe

BELOIT POETRY JOURNAL

HONEY FROM THE LION by Matthew Neill Null

South Arts

“Granna” by Clare Beams

“We Show What We Have Learned” by Clare Beams

Ben George

WHEN ALL THE WORLD IS OLD: POEMS by John Rybicki

RIVER BEND CHRONICLE by Ben Miller

MADRAS PRESS

Sumanth Prabhaker

Corinne Manning

THE JAMES FRANCO REVIEW

PLOUGHSHARES

REDIVIDER

ONE STORY

INSURRECTIONS by Rion Amilcar Scott

After a series of tragedies, Hannah Tinti figured out what she truly cares about, and in doing so, rediscovered the spark in her writing, resulting in her brilliant and immensely entertaining new novel, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY. She and James discuss finding community in the lonely business of writing, immediately knowing which pieces of a book belong, using roadsigns to create tension, and having the audacity to write about whales. They also discuss Hannah’s incredible work in co-creating and editing the literary magazine ONE STORY.

Hannah Tinti

Hannah and James Discuss:

Daniel Wallace

American Short Fiction

Sewanee Writers’ Conference

Maribeth Batcha

“Villanova” by John Hodgman

NYU

Writers House, A Literary Agency

Devin Emke

THE AREAS OF MY EXPERTISE by John Hodgman

THE BOSTON REVIEW

ATLANTIC MONTHLY

C. Michael Curtis

THE NEW YORKER

HARPER’S

PLOUGHSHARES

THE PARIS REVIEW

McSWEENEY’S

Samuel French

THE KENYON REVIEW

TIN HOUSE

GRANTA

REDIVIDER

“World’s End” by Clare Beams

Victor Kiam

The One Story Debutante Ball

The Fray

Margo Rabb

“Fear Itself” by Katie Coyle

“The Strings Attached” (unfortunately not entitled “Banjo”) by James Scott

ANIMAL CRACKERS by Hannah Tinti (2004, The Dial Press)

Winston Churchill

LENNY

Hedgebrook Writers in Residence Program

Alfred Hitchcock

Annie Hartnett

50 Cent

Greg Mollica

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Matthew Cheney

Jim Shepard

E.L. Doctorow

Advice from a psychic led Annie Hartnett to the residency that helped her finish her fantastic novel, RABBIT CAKE. She and James talk about spending time in cemeteries, writing in yards, giving a good reading, and how to sprinkle naked mole rat facts throughout to make the best fiction. Then, Masie Cochran from Tin House Books talks about discovering RABBIT CAKE and her route to becoming an editor.

Annie Hartnett

Annie and James Discuss:

“Refresh, Refresh” by Benjamin Percy

GOSSIP GIRL

Newtonville Books

Tin House Books

Hamilton College

Bread Loaf School of English

University of Alabama

Grub Street

Boston Public Library

Kellie Wells

Kobo

The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

Mike Scalise

Alex Awards

THE KEPT

REDIVIDER

FIND ME by Laura van den Berg

THE FAMILY FANG by Kevin Wilson

SWAMPLANDIA by Karen Russell

Aimee Bender

Samantha Hunt

THE WILDS by Julia Elliott

Mary Cotton

Jaime Clarke

George Saunders

Tin House Books

Masie and James Discuss:

(intro)

SWIMMING LESSONS by Claire Fuller

OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS by Claire Fuller

GHOST SONGS by Regina McBride

THE OTHER SIDE by Lacy Johnson

DRYLAND by Sara Jaffe

RELIEF MAP by Rosalie Knecht

(talk)

Katie Grimm of Don Congdon Associates

Michael Farris Smith

Nanci McCloskey

Sabrina Wise

TIN HOUSE

Tin House Writers’ Workshop

Win McCormack

Richard Pine

Inkwell Management

GEEK LOVE by Katherine Dunn

99 STORIES OF GOD by Joy Williams

Jim Shepard

Michael Farris Smith and James figured out pretty early on in the conversation that they were cut from the same cloth. Michael is the author of THE HANDS OF STRANGERS, RIVERS, and his latest novel, DESPERATION ROAD, is out now. He and James discuss following the story, not thinking too hard, realizing something is boring, and how the rise and fall of music can serve as a model for fiction. Then, Steve Iwanski, manager of Turnrow Book Co., talks about his store and recommends books.

Michael Farris Smith:

https://michaelfarrissmith.com/

Michael and James discuss:

THE MAID’S VERSION by Daniel Woodrell

The Southern Festival of the Book

Square Books

Lemuria Books

Ann Patchett

Newtonville Books

Brookline Booksmith

Porter Square Books

Mississippi Book Festival

Somerset Review

CLMP

Manhattan Public Library

The Pushcart Prize

The Center for Writers at Ole Miss

Publisher’s Weekly

Carolina Wren Press

Hannah Tinti

One Story

Frederick Barthelme

Steven Barthelme

The New Yorker

Jason Isbell

“Fire Away” by Chris Stapleton

Steve Earle

“Breaker’s Roar” by Sturgill Simpson

“You Want it Darker” by Leonard Cohen

Turnrow Book Co: http://turnrowbooks.com/

James and Steve Discuss:

COMMONWEALTH by Ann Patchett

Lady Gaga

Jamie Kornegay

FURIOUS COOL: RICHARD PRYOR AND THE WORLD THAT MADE HIM by David Henry and Joe Henry

The Alabama Booksmith

Wiley Cash

William Faulkner

Eudora Welty

THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH by Richard Flanagan

The Greenwood Shakespeare Project

DESPERATION ROAD by Michael Farris Smith

THE STRAYS by Emily Bitto

THE HISTORY OF WOLVES by Emily Fridlund

THE MIDNIGHT COOL by Lydia Peele

Ketch Secor

Old Crow Medicine Show

THE WORLD UNDONE by GJ Meyer

THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD by Douglas Preston

THE LOST CITY OF Z by David Grann

ICE GHOSTS by Paul Watson

THE WORLD TO COME by Jim Shepard

LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders

SALVAGE THE BONES by Jesmyn Ward

MEN WE REAPED by Jesmyn Ward

SING, UNBURIED, SING by Jesmyn Ward

In her harrowing novel, OUR HEARTS WILL BURN US DOWN, Anne Valente creates a portrait of trauma and the grief that follows. She and James discuss depicting violence, point of view, why drawer novels should never be published, the moments when they wondered if they should pursue something other than writing, and how music tastes may reveal more about characters than anything else. Plus, Emily Nemens talks about her work as co-editor and prose editor at THE SOUTHERN REVIEW.

Anne Valente

Anne and James Discuss:

Aimee Bender

Haruki Murakami

The Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction

Dan Wickett

DARK SHADOWS dir by Tim Burton

Jamie Quatro

AND THEN WE CAME TO THE END by Joshua Ferris

Steve Bartman

Nine Inch Nails

The Pixies

The Cure

KILL BILL, VOL. 1

The Dave Matthews Band

Blues Traveler

The Clash

Widespread Panic

The Southern Review 

Emily and James discuss:

Bret Lott

Jeanne Leiby

The Center For Architecture

Cara Blue Adams

Jill McCorkle

James Lee Burke

“Solee” by Crystal Hana Kim

PEN AMERICA BEST DEBUT SHORT STORIES 2017

In part 2 of their conversation, James and Mike Scalise, author of the memoir THE BRAND NEW CATASTROPHE, discuss an old wound, social media, and how winning the Center for Fiction’s Christopher Doheny Award let to the incredible sequence of events surrounding the sale of Mike’s book. Then, Sarabande Director of Marketing and Publicity/ Mike’s editor/ excellent writer Ariel Lewiton joins James to discuss her many roles and how she got to where she is.

 

Mike Scalise: http://mikescalise.tumblr.com/bnc

Mike and James Discuss:

THREE FEET HIGH AND RISING by De La Soul

Laura van den Berg

Urban Waite

The Dzanc Prize

“The Root” by Kim Deal

Grub Street

Christopher Castellani

Janet Silver

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth

WILD by Cheryl Strayed

Emerson College

Book Court

Paul Dano

Rachel Cantor

Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Center for Fiction Christopher Doheny Award

Franz Kafka

Housing Works Brooklyn

David Tomas Martinez

Sarabande Books

Ariel Lewiton

Paul Yoon

Ariel Lewiton: http://www.ariellewiton.com/new-page/ 

Ariel and James discuss:

Sarah Gorham

ON IMAGINATION by Mary Ruefle

Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction

Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry

The Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature

Kristen Radtke

McGraw-Hill Education

CHINA DAILY

The University of Iowa

GUERNICA

HIM, ME, MUHAMMAD ALI by Randa Jarrar

BUZZFEED

BLUETS by Maggie Nelson

THE ARGONAUTS by Maggie Nelson

AUDIBLE

IN FULL VELVET by Jenny Johnson

ANIMALS STRIKE CURIOUS POSES by Elena Passarello