Literary Hub7 min read
From P.G. Wodehouse to Jane Smiley, 7 Comic Novels You Should Read
In the 1982 movie, My Favorite Year, Peter O’Toole plays an aging former matinee idol who is suffering through a grueling day of rehearsals before a guest appearance on a live television program. At his wit’s end about the persnickety nature of—among
Literary Hub3 min read
Sameen Rushdie: “Food is a Way of Crossing Boundaries”
In this episode of A Phone Call From Paul, Paul Holdengraber speaks with Sameen Rushdie about racist attitudes towards food, food as language and a means of connection, the senselessness of a divided world, and the Rushdie family’s Christmas traditio
Literary Hub6 min read
Vijay Iyer: A Moral Imperative to Speak for the Musical Margins
The concert began in a state of rippling composure: Vijay Iyer at a Steinway, his tolling chords and arpeggios carried aloft in the evening air. When his sextet landed on the downbeat, completing a phrase initiated at the piano, it was with a sharp s
Literary Hub12 min read
Is Atheism the Last Unforgivable Sin of American Politics?
Even as federal and state courts and American governing institutions in general accept as given that all true Americans are believers, the number of nonbelievers in the United States steadily increases. And some of these, ordinary Americans going abo
Literary Hub10 min read
On the Slyly Subversive Writing of E.M. Forster
E.M. Forster conceived of A Room with a View in 1901, when he was 22. Months after graduation from Cambridge, marooned with his mother in a dreary Neapolitan pensione that catered to middle-class British tourists, without a job or even the prospect o
Literary Hub4 min read
The Trouble With Designing a Book When Its Author is in Jail
As a senior designer at Alfred A. Knopf, I feel incredibly lucky. Odds are, if I’m passed a manuscript to read, I will love it. And when I’m assigned a novel by a first-time author, an excited, anxiety-driven energy overcomes me. With no prior writin
Literary Hub3 min read
How to Read the Signs in New York City
From the diaries: NEW YORK SIGNS: LAST EXIT FOR THE VERRAZANO-NARROWS BRIDGE Still following the coast, which veered to the north, we reached, after fifty leagues, another land, which was much more beautiful and full of forests. There we anchored, an
Literary Hub4 min read
In Which I, Nathan Englander, Offer Myself Up for Space Force
American leaders really did once pride themselves on enterprise and invention. And yet now—day in, day out—you read reports of devolution in the U.S. on every conceivable government-run front. It really seems like the singular goal of our current adm
Literary Hub1 min read
Two Poems by Jos Charles
XV. wen ambeyance / accidentlie presense as a grl / sweting at mye teat / i wonted 2 lov her accidentes / 2 powre lines cut verticle inn the grasse /      mye lyrick untide inn her hande / clynical lik spryng / is ther anye thynge u lov / cis /     m
Literary Hub8 min read
New Poetry by Indigenous Women
In my Mojave culture, many of our songs are maps, but not in the sense of an American map. Mojave song-maps do not draw borders or boundaries, do not say this is knowable, or defined, or mine. Instead our maps use language to tell about our movements
Literary Hub8 min read
Stepping Into the Boxing Ring as a Transgender Man
Mendez Boxing gym was wedged between anonymous buildings in the Flatiron, under one of those ubiquitous green Manhattan awnings that signal perpetual construction. Though it was just a few blocks north of the office in Union Square where I worked as
Literary Hub7 min read
When They Put Lauryn Hill on the Cover of Time
Ask a black girl to recall her favorite Lauryn Hill memory from the 90s and at least one of them will probably recall a magazine—big, beautiful, and glossy. The end of the 90s was the print era’s last stand. That’s not to suggest that it was ever a n
Literary Hub8 min read
Gabrielle Bellot: On the Enigma of V.S. Naipaul
In 1962, in an infamous section of The Middle Passage, Sir V.S. Naipaul’s critical tour through a variety of Caribbean islands, Naipaul pauses in his specific critique to address the supposed problems of the Caribbean as a whole. He had undertaken th
Literary Hub5 min read
What If You Win a Comedy Award But Don’t Think You’re Funny?
In 2015 my hometown newspaper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, ran a headline describing me as the “Funniest Woman in America.” My husband tried not to look astonished. Rather than “America,” had the editor meant to refer to Saint Paul? Or perhaps to o
Literary Hub7 min read
A Brief History of Women Mountaineers
Do what you love most, and must do, and not only will you meet those who share your passion and know your devotion, but the choosing will lead you to mastery. Being able to live by such a creed is both an opportunity and a privilege. It is also a cha
Literary Hub5 min read
5 Writers, 7 Questions, No Wrong Answers
The Lit Hub Author Questionnaire is a monthly interview featuring seven questions for five authors with new books. This month we talk to: * David Chariandy (Brother) Claudia Dey (Heartbreaker) Lexi Freiman (Inappropriation) Ling Ma (Severance) Jon Mc
Literary Hub5 min read
Zen And The Art Of Alan Spence
I first heard Alan Spence in a cafe in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow called, auspiciously enough, the Third Eye Centre. It sounds other-worldly and, in some way, was. More definitely, however, it wasn’t. It held salads in giant spoonfuls and coffee s
Literary Hub11 min read
Nigel Poor on Producing a Podcast From San Quentin Prison
WS: Hi. I’m Will Schwalbe, and this is But That’s Another Story. I’m not a very nosy person. I’m not, by nature, an eavesdropper. If you’re talking about something and you aren’t talking to me, I don’t need to know what it is. I’ve got plenty on my m
Literary Hub4 min read
What We Loved This Week
On my way through London I picked up a few of the long listed Booker titles at my local bookshop and fell into two as if they were uncovered wells. Donal Ryan’s new novel, From a Low and Quiet Sea, begins with a terrifyingly realistic depiction of fl
Literary Hub5 min read
Charlottesville, Brexit, and Trump: From News Cycle To Novel
On the morning of Sunday, August 12th, 2017, around 500 white supremacists began to assemble in Emancipation Park, Charlottesville, Virginia for the Unite the Right rally. The group, which included armed militias, Klansmen and members of the alt-righ
Literary Hub7 min read
Sometimes It’s Easier to Talk About Books Than Say ‘I Love You’
I’m sitting at the desk in the corner of my bedroom when my phone buzzes and a text from my dad pops up: “Wouldn’t like the cold but don’t mind cleaning my bowl with a crust of bread.” I’m understandably confused, but then I realize what’s happening.
Literary Hub2 min read
Announcing theMystery.doc Contest Winners
Fourteen years in the writing, and 1,664 pages in length, theMystery.doc is perhaps one of the most unusual novels ever published, combining photographs, pop-up ads, web chats, lines of code with Hollywood film stills and passages from literary class
Literary Hub7 min read
When Your Imposter Syndrome is Out of Control
“It’s hard to write a memoir about self-doubt when you’re plagued with self-doubt.” I’ve spoken these words into almost every microphone I’ve stood behind since my book, End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood, came out this spring. It i
Literary Hub4 min read
Fiction Reminds Us That We’re All In This Together
I suspect most people want their families and friends healthy, well fed, kind, and well educated, living in clean homes, happily going about blissful lives. We desire bright, loving, well-adjusted children with angelic singing voices, pure hearts, sh
Literary Hub8 min read
James Traub and Margot Livesey: Decency vs. Moral Weakness
In this episode of the Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast, writers James Traub and Margot Livesey discuss the idea of morally weak characters with hosts V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell. In part one, Traub talks moral weakness, the concept of decency
Literary Hub2 min read
37, a Sonnet by Katie Ford
If every stanza is a room, as the Italian definition for “stanza” tells us, then a stanzaic poem might become a home. If 39 sonnets numbered the years of my life when I began composing If You Have to Go, then might I have made a transformed life in w
Literary Hub11 min read
One of the Greatest Archeological Mysteries of All Time
The existence of a mausoleum built for Qin Shihuang, who is better known outside of China as the first Emperor, has been recognized since fairly soon after this death over 2,200 years ago. For the story of its construction was related in a celebrated
Literary Hub5 min read
From Wage Labor to Writer
My novel, A Short Film About Disappointment, came in the mail. Tearing open the padded envelope, I experienced a disorientation and bewilderment which lasted for some days. Why had the man on the flap typed these lies? The Ployez-Jacquemart remained
Literary Hub4 min read
5 Reasons a Writer Should Move to… Tucson
For most, Arizona evokes images of the Grand Canyon and perhaps the desert sprawl of Phoenix, but one of the state’s real gems lies further to the south in the city of Tucson. A diverse city with a rich history and stunning landscapes—and home to the
Literary Hub5 min read
The Wind in the Willows Isn’t Really a Children’s Book
The Wind in the Willows is one of the most famous English children’s books, one of the most famous books about animals and a classic book about “messing about in boats.” Famous, it certainly is. Although it has never been quite the international icon
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