Are authors ever as interesting as their books? Usually not. Yet writers today are compelled to promote not just their work but themselves.
Putuma and Galgut explore the persistent negation of Black subjectivity and how this negation continues to haunt South African public life. What happens when laws change but hearts don’t?
“Food is about being human.” There is an undeniable link between food and mood, but isn’t it odd for a literary critic to take an interest in culinary matters?
Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Sympathizer and its sequel The Committed, joins esteemed scholar Colleen Lye of UC-Berkeley for a candid discussion about the Asian-American novel and the role of literature and theory in radical social movements. Colleen is drawn to the mix of philosophy and suspense in Viet’s workContinue reading “2.7 The Novel of Revolutionary Ideas: Viet Thanh Nguyen and Colleen Lye (AV)”
Caryl Phillips, professor of English at Yale, world-renowned and prize-winning novelist (from The Final Passage to 2018’s A View of the Empire at Sunset) shares his thoughts on transplantation, on performance, on race, even on sports. Joining him here are John and the wonderful comparatist Corina Stan, educated in Romania, Germany, France and the US, authorContinue reading “2.5 Stitching the Past to the Present: Caryl Phillips speaks with Corina Stan (JP)”
Acclaimed novelist Kamila Shamsie joins esteemed Oxford scholar Ankhi Mukherjee for a wide-ranging discussion of literature and politics. Ankhi raises the unique challenges facing postcolonial and specifically Muslim writers in the wake of 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, including the pressure to become commentators in times of crisis (our episode was recorded in AugustContinue reading “2.4 In Medias Res: Kamila Shamsie and Ankhi Mukherjee (AV)”
Novels, she says, should provide a “vision of life” rather than a “fascinated horror” of it.
The brilliant New York writer Sigrid Nunez‘s most recent novel is What Are You Going Through; her previous one, The Friend, (2018) won the National Book Award. She speaks with Tara Menon, of the Harvard English department, and author of a terrific article about Sigrid Nunez in the Sewanee Review. The conversation ranges widely andContinue reading “2.3 Because I Couldn’t Be a Dancer: Sigrid Nunez and Tara Menon (JP)”
“Who do we, as writers, choose not to leave behind?”
Novelist, screenwriter, and HBO showrunner Tom Perrotta joins his old friend Mark Wollaeger (who also happens to be a top scholar of modernism) for a wide-ranging conversation about literature, television, and everything in between. Tom reveals that he has been reading a most peculiar self-help book: Richard Ellmann’s biography of James Joyce. Mark then sharesContinue reading “2.2 Adaptation: Tom Perrotta and Mark Wollaeger Go from Page to Screen (AV)”
“The novel wraps itself around you like a cocoon.”
We are just delighted to welcome you back to the second season of Novel Dialogue, putting scholars and writers together to chew the fat, and spill secrets of the trade. It begins with a bang; who better to interview the prolific and prize-winning American novelist Jennifer Egan than Ivan Kreilkamp? The distinguished Indiana Victorianist showedContinue reading “2.1 Fiction as Streaming, Genre as Portal: Jennifer Egan and Ivan Kreilkamp (JP)”
I think of my favorite literary interviews as revelatory events: occasions, in Toni Morrison’s words, “when some moment or phrase flares like a lightning bug” and all participants “see it at the same time and… remember it the same way”.
Our two hosts play guest, and dive into the season’s high and lowlights, starting with the role humor played on the show. We also talk through the affordances of the “virtual” studio as opposed to the brick and mortar one where John recorded podcasts in “the before time.” Literary critics that we are, we can’tContinue reading “1.9 Season Wrap: Aarthi and John Reflect and Ruminate”
Novel Dialogue sits down with Michael Johnston of Purdue University and George Saunders, master of the short story form and author of the Booker-prize winning novel Lincoln in the Bardo. This conversation was defiant of novelist and chemist C.P. Snow’s lament that the sciences and humanities have become siloed from one another. George shows usContinue reading “1.8 The Novel is like a Stack of Yurts: George Saunders talks with Michael Johnston (AV)”
Helen Garner sits down with John and Elizabeth McMahon, a distinguished scholar of Australian literature. Helen’s novels range from the anti-patriarchy exuberance of Monkey Grip (1977) to the heartbreaking mortality at the heart of The Spare Room (2008). She has also authored a slew of nonfiction, plus screenplays for Jane Campion’s Two Friends and GillianContinue reading “1.7 Helen Garner is Hacking at the Adverbs (Elizabeth McMahon, JP)”
Gerry Canavan talks to geek feminist author Kameron Hurley about her Hugo-nominated novel The Light Brigade. A love-hate letter to military science fiction, The Light Brigade turns the form on its head. It is built around women fighters, queerness, and defying authority while being at the bottom of the chain of command. The novel also has surprisingContinue reading “1.6 Military Sci-Fi Minus the Misogyny: Kameron Hurley with Gerry Canavan (AV)”
James Robertson, brilliant author of The Testament of Gideon Mack, and University of Edinburgh’s top prof. Penny Fielding beam in from their respective corners of Scotland. Extensive reference is made to (John’s madly beloved) James Hogg and to Robert Louis Stevenson, especially his Jack-the-Ripperesque Jekyll and Hyde. The violence that underpins slavery–aye, even in Scotland,Continue reading “1.5 Getting Into Other Worlds: James Robertson with Penny Fielding (JP)”
Novel Dialogue sends Martin Puchner (polymathic author of The Written World and most recently The Language of Thieves) out to speak with Pew author Catherine Lacey. They go a-wandering. Lacey’s earlier works include a 2018 collection of short stories, Certain American States, and two novels: The Answers in 2017 and 2014’s Nobody is Ever Missing, a delightful roadContinue reading “1.4 Feral Fiction: Catherine Lacey and Martin Puchner (JP)”
Ulka Anjaria and Madhuri Vijay sit down to talk about Madhuri’s prize-winning first novel The Far Field. They discuss what it’s like to write intimately about a place – Kashmir – that many people even within India know only through headlines and news stories. Getting intimate with a place moves us into talking about the IndianContinue reading “1.3 Oh, The Places You’ll Go: Madhuri Vijay talks to Ulka Anjaria (AV)”