Juliet Lapidos is a writer and editor. She is currently a senior editor at The Atlantic, and previously worked for the LA Times, NYT and Slate. Host Tom Lutz joins Juliet to discuss Talent, her new novel about a 29 year old English grad student who can’t finish her dissertation, spending her days eating pop tarts rather than producing pages — relatable. Everything changes when she meets the niece of a famous author and gets access to his notebooks. Anna finds in the author’s archive the inspiration that takes her on a whirlwind journey into the depths of a literary mystery. Tom talks with Juliet about every writer's favorite subject, writer's block; along with the role of slacking in American culture, and that ancient quandary of artistic production: hard work vs inspiration or, could we say, Talent.
Author and Artist William E Jones joins co-hosts Eric Newman, Medaya Ocher, and Kate Jones to discuss his first novel I'm Open to Anything. In the midst of a successful career as both an artist and a writer of non-fiction, William explains what inspired this change; albeit one clearly situated in the Los Angeles of the late 80s, which William encountered after a childhood in the declining rust belt and college on the East Coast. Much like his writing, insights pour forth as William reflects on the difference between writing and making art, his contempt for sexual ellipses in literature and film, his passion for both explicit sexual realism and literary pranks, and why these inform his love for Denis Diderot.
Also, Poet Tommy Pico returns to recommend Tommy Orange's novel There There; and clarify who's who.
Author Karen Tongson talks with co-hosts Eric Newman and Kate Wolf about the tragic life and beautiful voice of Karen Carpenter, the singer who is Tongson's namesake and whose star has never lost its lustre for an enduring fanbase in the Philippines. What she unpacks in Carpenter's story is a moving account of suffering and beauty, of longing for a world we may never reach save in soaring notes and the practiced perfection of vocal harmony, a struggle resonant with queer and diasporic experience.
Also, Morgan Parker, author most recently of Magical Negro, returns to recommend poet Nabila Lovelace's first collection, Sons of Achilles.
Co-hosts Eric Newman and Kate Wolf talk with poets Morgan Parker and Tommy Pico about their respective new works, Magical Negro and Junk. Parker and Pico discuss how they use poetry to explore the experiences of oppressed communities, shuttling between the sublimity and nuance of everyday experiences and the larger cultural and political questions that saturate bodies, spaces and relations. They also talk about how their aesthetic practice has changed as they have moved into writing novels and screenplays.