Hosts Kate, Eric, and Medaya are joined by renowned Chinese writer Yan Lianke, whose latest book is the memoir Three Brothers, about his childhood growing up during the Cultural Revolution. Calling in from Beijing, Yan discusses his life as a writer, being banned and censored in his own country and how he thinks literature can influence politics. Nicole Liu translates from the Chinese.
Also, Nicole Liu recommends Fleche, a book of poetry by Hong Kong author Mary Jean Chan.
Co-hosts Kate and Medaya are joined by writer Joni Murphy, whose new novel, Talking Animals, takes place in a fictional New York City, populated entirely by animals. Joni discusses why she chose an alpaca and a llama as her protagonists, and how animals might allow us to talk about climate change, politics, and culture differently.
Plus, Akwaeke Emezi, author of The Death of Vivek Oji, returns to recommend Sacrament of Bodies by Nigerian poet Romeo Oriogun.
Hosts Eric and Medaya are joined by the writer Awkaeke Emezi, whose new novel The Death of Vivek Oji, explores the life and death of a young transgender person, Vivek, who is discovering and navigating his identity in contemporary Nigeria. We talk with Akwaeke about what inspired this story, their own life and childhood in Nigeria, and how they think about work as an “artist and writer based in liminal spaces”, as they put it.
Also, Aminatow Sow, co-author of Big Friendship, returns to recommend Nessa Rapoport's new novel Evening.
Eric and Melissa Faliveno, author of Tomboyland, parse the history of the tomboy, its queer geographic and temporal character, as part of a broader discussion about how gender remains a wonderfully incoherent experience for so many of us, yet one that social and cultural norms is forever trying to fit into neat, rigid boxes. As she reflects on her debut collection of essays, Faliveno talks about bisexual erasure, not feeling “queer enough,” her love of roller derby, and the essay as a beautifully flexible genre.
Also, Ann Friedman, co-author of Big Friendship, returns to recommend Kathryn Scanlan's touchingly human and poetic Aug 9 - Fog.
Authors Aminatou Sow and Ann Friendman join co-hosts Kate and Medaya to discuss their exploration of their friend, and close adult friendships in general, Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close. The discussion opens up with Aminatou and Ann telling the story of their friendship, how they met, bonded, grew inseparable, and have remained emotionally-so through trials, tribulations, and major life changes. The conversation then addresses how close non-romantic adult friendships, particularly among women, remain a difficult fit in contemporary America - even as bonding among women is given lip service throughout much of mass culture - and, as Aminatou and Ann testify, the upside to Big Friendship is immeasurable.
Also, Frank B Wilderson III, author of Afropessimism, returns to recommend USC Assistant Professor Zakiyyah Iman Jackson's new book Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World.