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

Dan talks to James about his remarkable new collections of plays, PLAYS ONE, and poetry, NEW LIFE, made even more remarkable by Dan’s fight with colon cancer. The afternoon after a clean scan, he and James discuss the illness, young writers, and their shared affinity for not reading reviews. Then, Shuchi Saraswat talks about her excellent essay for Tin House and, as a book buyer for Brookline Booksmith, recommends her favorite summer reads and fall books to look forward to.

Dan O’Brien

Dan and James Discuss:

ILLNESS AS METAPHOR by Susan Sontag

Sewanee Writers’ Conference

Middlebury College

THE VOYAGE OF THE CARCASS by Dan O’Brien (DO)

THE DEAR BOY (DO)

Andra Harbold

Blake Montgomery

School Jacques Lecoq

Vassar College

New York Stage and Film

Williamstown Theatre Festival

Brown University

Jessica St. Clair

Pauline Kael

THE NEW YORKER

INDIANA JONES

THE BODY OF AN AMERICAN (DO)

ICE GHOSTS by Paul Watson

Sam Shepard

Eugene O’Neill Theater Center: National Playwrights Conference

Patti Smith

BREAD LOAF WRITERS’ CONFERENCE

Thomas Mallon

Pinckney Benedict

NEW LIFE: POEMS (DO)

WAR REPORTER (DO)

THE HOUSE IN HYDESVILLE (DO)

THE CHERRY SISTERS REVISITED (DO)

Shuchi and James discuss:

RUNNING IN THE FAMILY by Michael Ondaatje

TIN HOUSE

Emma Komlos-Hrobsky

Teju Cole

John Berger

W.G. Sebald

IN THE SKIN OF A LION by Michael Ondaatje

DIVISADERO by Michael Ondaatje

IN THE DISTANCE by Hernan Diaz

MEEK’S CUTOFF dir by Kelly Reichardt

THE CAT’S TABLE by Michael Ondaatje

THE BURNING GIRL by Clare Messud

SMALL TREASONS by Mark Powell

THE MOUNTAIN by Paul Yoon

HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES by Carmen Maria Machado

Kelly Link

Aimee Bender

Laura van den Berg

Karen Russell

AT NIGHT WE WALK IN CIRCLES by Daniel Alarcon

THE KING IS ALWAYS ABOVE THE PEOPLE by Daniel Alarcon

FIVE-CARAT SOUL by James McBride

THE GOOD LORD BIRD by James McBride

Jeffrey Eugenides

Tom Hanks

Steve Martin

Junot Diaz

Alice Munro

Jim Shepard

Brookline Booksmith

NOBODY IS EVER MISSING by Catherine Lacey

James speaks with the authors of two new story collections, Tim Weed (A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING) and Meghan Kenny (LOVE IS NO SMALL THING). They discuss sequencing their books, what unifies the stories, and what they learned in the writing process. Tim tells James how short stories are like jumping in cold water, and Meghan and James contemplate pulling a Freaky Friday.

Tim Weed

Tim and James Discuss:

National Geographic

Cuba Writers Program

Sir Francis Bacon

Middlebury College

Grub Street, Inc.

Ingmar Bergman

Laura van den Berg

Benjamin Percy

Green Writers Press

John Tiholiz

Grateful Dead

JESUS’ SON by Denis Johnson

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

William Gay

Paul Bowles

Jim Shepard

The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College

DOG SOLDIERS by Robert Stone

BEAR AND HIS DAUGHTER by Robert Stone

FUN WITH PROBLEMS by Robert Stone

“Helpers” by Robert Stone

THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT FICTION

 

Meghan Kenny

Meghan and James Discuss: 

Tobias Wolff

Richard Ford

Andre Dubus

PJ Mark

Lorrie Moore

Jim Shepard

Alice Munro

W.W. Norton & Company

LSU Press

Josh Weill

Anthony Doerr

FREAKY FRIDAY

The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop

Boise State University

Emerson College

Laura van den Berg

Newtonville Books

In her memoir, THE HOT ONE, Carolyn Murnick follows the case of the murder of her childhood best friend while thinking back on how they drifted apart. As the pages turn, the book explores themes like sexuality, competitiveness, aging, and the male gaze without sacrificing its considerable momentum and pace. Plus, OUT editor-in-chief and owner of the beautiful ONE GRAND BOOKS, Aaron Hicklin.

James and Carolyn Discuss: 

THE MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS

THE CUT

HOW TO BE A PERSON IN THE WORLD by Heather Havrilesky

PHILLIPS EXETER ACADEMY

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Tom Beller

MR. BELLER’S NEIGHBORHOOD

FRENCH ROAST DIARY

NEW YORK MAGAZINE

BEFORE AND AFTER: STORIES FROM NEW YORK

MEET ME IN THE BATHROOM by Lizzy Goodman

Larry Weissman

THE FACT OF A BODY by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Aaron and James discuss:

THE FOUNDING FISH by John McPhee

THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE

THE BIBLE

THE QURAN

Dianne Wiest

John Cameron Mitchell

Samuel Beckett

Marlon James

Michael Stipe

Kim Gordon

Michael Cunningham

Carrie Brownstein

SLOUCHING TOWARDS BETHLEHEM by Joan Didion

Maggie Nelson

Lorrie Moore

James Baldwin

Virginia Woolf

Raymond Pettibon

THE JOURNAL OF A TOUR TO THE HEBRIDES by James Boswell

URNE-BURIAL by Sir Thomas Browne

Tilda Swinton

“The Box” by Orbital video dir by Luke Losey

UNE VIE EXEMPLAIRE by Floc’h

Jon Buono

Alabama Booksmith

Lemuria Books

Turnrow Books

Square Books

The Pixies

Violent Femmes

 

Television

CBGB’s

The seventh book from Benjamin Percy is the terrifying THE DARK NET. He tells James what he’s learned writing comics, how he juggles his projects, why his sister slept with the lights on into her 20s (spoiler: it’s Ben’s fault), and how he overcame being a closeted genre fan. Plus Percy’s editor and editorial director of fiction at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Helen Atsma.

Benjamin Percy

Benjamin and James Discuss:

Green Arrow

Teen Titans

Black Canary

Dennis O’Neil

Neal Adams

The Justice League

The Flash

Wonder Woman

Batman

Superman

Green Lantern

DC Comics

Juan Ferreyra

THRILL ME by Benjamin Percy

THE WARLORD

Spider-Man

Mike Grell

X-Men

Wolverine

VOODOO HEART by Scott Snyder

WHO CAN SAVE US NOW? ed by Owen King

VERTIGO COMICS

Katherine Fausset

RED MOON by Benjamin Percy

Mark Doyle

DIE HARD

The Pulitzer Price

THE DARK NET by Benjamin Percy

CONAN THE BARBARIAN Soundtrack

Tom Waits

“Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave

Enya

The Jonas Brothers

Rick Astley

Jen Percy

POETS & WRITERS MAGAZINE

REFRESH, REFRESH by Benjamin Percy

THE LANGUAGE OF ELK by Benjamin Percy

Sherman Alexie

Alice Munro

Flannery O’Connor

THRILLING TALES ed. by Michael Chabon

Jim Shepard

Nick Hornby

Margaret Atwood

Susanna Clarke

Kate Atkinson

Peter Straub

Dennis Lehane

Cormac McCarthy

The Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop

University of Nevada MFA

Kelly Link

Colson Whitehead

Justin Cronin

Karen Russell

WHAT THE WORLD WILL LOOK LIKE WHEN ALL THE WATER LEAVES US by Laura van den Berg

TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf

Margot Livesey

Tim O’Brien

GQ

THE DEAD LANDS by Benjamin Percy

THE TWILIGHT ZONE

Powell’s Books

INDEPENDENCE DAY

James and Helen Discuss: 

Steve Martin

“Refresh, Refresh” by Benjamin Percy

THE PARIS REVIEW

Katherine Fausset

TIN HOUSE

Grub Street, Inc.

Graywolf Publishing

THRILL ME by Benjamin Percy

THE WILDING by Benjamin Percy

Grand Central Publishing

THE LONEY by Andrew Michael Hurley

THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD by Jade Chang

THE DARK NET by Benjamin Percy

Stephen King

TOY STORY

JAWS

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C.S. Lewis

ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN

Archie

E.M. Forster

Alvar Aalto

MISS KOPP’S MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS by Amy Stewart

GIRL WAITS WITH GUN by Amy Stewart

NEVER COMING BACK by ALISON McGHEE

THE FIRST DAY by Phil Harrison

Marilynne Robinson

KELLY J. FORD revised and sharpened her debut novel, COTTONMOUTHS, in Grub Street’s Novel Incubator program with our second guest, MICHELLE HOOVER. She and James talk about crappy drafts, depression, the woods vs. the forest, coming out narratives, and tents full of mannequin parts. She also describes her process, including using formulas and borrowing the scaffolding of other narratives. Then James asks Michelle about novel writing and workshopping.

Kelly J. Ford

Kelly and James discuss: 

Daniel Woodrell (intro)

Sarah Waters (intro)

“Hanging Judge” Parker

Flannery O’Connor

Paula Abdul

FINGERHUT MAGAZINE

Solid Gold Dancers

Lisa Borders

E.B. Moore

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

Laura van den Berg

Chip Cheek

Cam Terwilliger

Diane Johnson

THE END OF CALIFORNIA by Steve Yarbrough

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley

RE JANE by Patricia Park

THE MIDDLESTEINS by Jamie Attenberg

DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn

LITTLE CHILDREN by Tom Perrotta

WRITTEN ON THE BODY by Jeanette Winterson

THE PASSION by Jeanette Winterson

THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin

Maya Angelou

Sam Cooke

HUNGER by Roxanne Gay

Michelle Hoover

Michelle and James Discuss:

Jay Neugeboren

Noy Holland

BOTTOMLAND by Michelle Hoover

Ian Stansel

Brian Evenson

THRILL ME by Benjamin Percy

HALF IN LOVE WITH DEATH by Emily Ross

Rachel Barenbaum

IDYLL THREATS by Stephanie Gayle

IDYLL FEARS by Stephanie Gayle

Ian Stansel’s fantastic first novel THE LAST COWBOYS OF SAN GERONIMO plays with the genre expectations of Westerns by setting the murder-revenge in northern California wine country. James and Ian discuss storytelling economy, bringing dead characters to life, horse-y literature, and conclude, “There are a lot of books.” Then editor Naomi Gibbs and James discuss her career path working on ‘orphaned’ novels like Ian’s.

Ian Stansel

Ian and James discuss:

SHOTGUN LOVESONGS by Nickolas Butler

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Graywolf

Roxane Gay

Sherman Alexie

Cormac McCarthy

THE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick DeWitt

NEWS OF THE WORLD by Paulette Jiles

Louis L’Amour

Larry McMurtry

The Kentucky Book Fair

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

BLACK BEAUTY by Anna Sewell

THE MARE by Mary Gaitskill

Dick Francis

THE WAKE OF FORGIVENESS by Bruce Machart

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (remake) dir by Antoine Fuqua

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN by Cormac McCarthy

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (film) dir by the Coen Bros

THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Bob Dylan

Daniel Woodrell

HELL OR HIGH WATER dir by David Mackenzie

Naomi and James discuss:

Whitman College

Counterpoint Press

Columbia Publishing Course

Bloomsbury Publishing

Gary Snyder

Jack Shoemaker

Politics & Prose

Craig Johnson

Cormac McCarthy

Larry McMurtry

Edward Abbey