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CRAFT ESSAYS, ELEMENTS, and TALKS

Hybrid Interview: Matthew Salesses

January 19, 2021

  Essay by Candace Eros Diaz • The first sentence of Matthew Salesses’s Craft in the Real World reads, “[T]his book is a challenge to accepted models of craft and workshop, to everything from a character-driven plot to the ‘cone…

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More than Mere Oblivion: Alexander Trocchi’s CAIN’S BOOK

January 12, 2021

  By Peter Selgin • Like rock stars, some novelists are eaten alive by their ardent fans. Embraced by severely circumscribed subcultures, their best performances are transformed from works of art into manifestoes, and cease to be read by ordinary…

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Lessons from Julia Otsuka’s WHEN THE EMPEROR WAS DIVINE

December 8, 2020

  By Kim Lozano • I’m a slow reader. I sometimes pluck a book from the shelf based not on whether its subject matter appeals to me, but whether or not it’s skinny or fat. So when I recently read…

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Hybrid Interview: Tara Isabel Zambrano

November 17, 2020

  Essay by Kristin Tenor • Virginia Woolf writes in her novel Orlando: A Biography: “Nothing thicker than a knife blade separates happiness from melancholy.” Perhaps the same might be said by the characters inhabiting Tara Isabel Zambrano’s debut short…

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Hybrid Interview: Chloe N. Clark

October 27, 2020

  Essay by Jesse Motte • In a period of world history characterized largely by mandated physical distancing, Chloe N. Clark’s debut collection, Collective Gravities, is an important reference for navigating inner and outer spaces. The collection, driven by character…

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For Better or Worse: On the Failure of the Stand-Alone Excerpt

October 20, 2020

  By Maria Cichosz • The first time I tried to turn part of my novel into a publishable excerpt, I immediately knew it was hopeless. I had just finished working on one novel and was deep into another, having…

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Art of the Opening: What’s an Opening to Do?

October 6, 2020

  Toward a Taxonomy of How Stories Start An invitation. A doorway. A promise to—or even contract with—the reader. There are various ways to think about the opening of a story, but rather than consider what it should be, let’s…

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Detail: Applying a James Wood Lens to Deborah Eisenberg’s “Like It or Not”

September 29, 2020

  By Christopher Hathaway • In reading James Wood’s literary criticism, specifically the essays “What Chekhov Meant by Life,” “Serious Noticing,” and “Anna Karenina and Characterisation” from his latest collection, Serious Noticing, one comes to understand how detail functions in…

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Looking at LOVE: Toni Morrison’s Construction of Desire and Obstacle

September 22, 2020

  By Emilee Prado • Toni Morrison’s novel Love grapples with the vast, mutable, apparitional human experience that we compress into that four-letter word taken as the title. For those who have fallen in and out of romantic love, for…

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Hybrid Interview: Megan Cummins

September 15, 2020

  Framing the Stories: If the Body Allows It by Megan Cummins Essay by Laura Spence-Ash • The architecture of If the Body Allows It, Megan Cummins’s stunning debut story collection, is unique: there are two sets of stories within…

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