In addition to offering plenty of great advice for aspiring writers, George Saunders reflects on the creative process for his new novel, the interviews, notes, and scenes that once distilled become his nonfiction work, and on bold compassion as the right course of resistance under a Trump presidency.
In 1970, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) sat down for an interview with The Paris Review just months before abandoning his campaign for president, running as the Chilean Communist Party candidate. American author Rita Guibert conducted the interview at Neruda’s home in Isla Negra, just south of Valparaiso: Oh, there is no advice to give to […]
There must be few journalistic feats more difficult than getting inside the head of a teenager. But with “13, Right Now,” Washington Post staff writer Jessica Contrera joins the ranks of reporters who have skillfully chronicled the lives of children and teens, including Susan Orlean (read her classic Esquire piece, “The American Man, Age 10”) and more […]
If you don’t take Swift seriously, you don’t take contemporary music seriously. With the (arguable) exceptions of Kanye West and Beyoncé Knowles, she is the most significant pop artist of the modern age. The scale of her commercial supremacy defies parallel—she’s sold 1 million albums in a week three times, during an era when most […]
During the 1960s and 70s, legendary jazz drummer Art Taylor interviewed his fellow musicians. The interviews are collected in the 1993 book Notes and Tones: Musician-to-Musician Interviews, and it’s one of jazz’s greatest. The familial, casual conversations are also serious and insightful, full of history, portraiture, and revelations about race relations in America, and the […]
The waiter arrives. When he asks about food allergies, Kafka hands him a written list. Then he excuses himself to go to the bathroom. As soon as he’s gone, Kundera says, “The problem with Kafka is that he never got enough tail.” We all snicker. Joyce orders another bottle of wine. Finally, he turns and looks at me through his dark glasses. “I’m reading your new book,” he says. “Oh?” I say. “Yes,” says Joyce.
Sex is difficult to write about because it’s just not sexy enough. The only way to write about it is not to write much. Let the reader bring his own sexuality into the text. A writer I usually admire has written about sex in the most off-putting way. There is just too much information. If you start saying “the curve of . . .” you soon sound like a gynecologist.