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How to Buy Heidi Julavits’s Self on eBay

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Author Heidi Julavits’s predominant self is hiding inside this matryoshka doll.

Over at the Paris Review, in an interview with Leanne Shapton, Julavits answers each question with an eBay auction listing. What listing would you choose to answer the query, “What sort of highly valuable or beloved object would you feed to a shark to save your life?” Hopefully not your copy of Women in Clothes, coedited by Shapton, Julavits, and Sheila Heti.

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Writing, Titling, Tricoloning

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Greek for “of equal number of clauses,” isocolon is a rhetorical device that produces a sense of order by balancing parallel elements that are similar in structure and length within a sentence. An isocolon need not have three elements, but the requirement of parallel and balance means that it often takes a tripartite shape, technically called a tricolon.

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This Thursday, Talk to Talking Heads

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This Thursday, May 21st, I’ll be joining Binnie Klein on her WPKN radio show “A Miniature World,” broadcast out of Bridgeport, CT on 89.5 FM, and available everywhere online at http://stream.wpkn.org/. The show’s theme for the day will be “songs that transform lives.” Binnie and I will be joined from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

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Before Twain Was Twain

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Newspaper journalist Samuel Clemens would eventually go on to become novelist Mark Twain. But, Samuel Clemens was something of a story writer too. At the Guardian, Nicky Woolf reports that a scholar at the University of California has discovered and authenticated letters stories written by Twain while he still worked at the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle.

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YA’s Last Taboo

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Sex scenes in YA, the kind that (gulp) turn us on and make our cheeks flush and get our hearts racing, have never been more important than they are now. Stories that give protagonists flesh and bone and heart and all that goes with being in a body also give us a portrait of sexual intimacy born of desire, of need for one’s partner, of passionate love and want and its fulfillment, of playfulness and fun and joy.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week was the third annual #TwitterFiction Festival, held here, there, and everywhere in typical Twitter style. The Association of American Publishers and Penguin Random House partnered to host the event this year, bringing in such big names as Margaret Atwood (@MargaretAtwood), Celeste Ng (@pronounced_ing), Eric Jerome Dickey (@EricJDickey), Jackie Collins (@JackieCollins), and Maggie Stiefvater (@mstiefvater).

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A Séance for Robert Browning

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The voice of the dead man was heard speaking… In breathless silence the little, awed group stood round the phonograph, [as] Robert Browning’s familiar and cheery voice suddenly exclaimed: “Ready?”

Poet Robert Browning may not have been able to remember all the words he wrote, but he does bear the distinction of the first literary figure to record his voice, in April 1889.

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