Laurie Sheck is the author, most recently, of Island of the Mad, and A Monster’s Notes, a re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. A Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry for The Willow Grove, she has been a Guggenheim Fellow, as well as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library....more
Posts Tagged: The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project
Jean Conner was married to Bruce Conner from 1957 until his death in 2008. As a result, she tends to be overshadowed by her husband’s larger than life reputation as an artist, filmmaker, light show pioneer, and all-around conceptual provocateur. But Jean is a major artist in her own right, continuously pursuing her work as a painter and collagist, of which the recently reissued Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His Circle affords only a tantalizing glimpse....more
Steven Schwartz’s new book, Madagascar: New and Selected Stories, positively aches (often sighs, sometimes chuckles) with wisdom. Steven understands people. He understands why they do what they do, how they feel when they’ve done it, and he understands too how the twists of life can disrupt all of that so people act in peculiar, unexpected ways and respond with surprising acts....more
“To read,” wrote E.M. Cioran, “is to let someone else do the work for you.” Indeed, David Kukoff has done extensive footwork collecting an array of varied experiences to give us an idea of what it was to live in LA during what might arguably be one of its most pivotal decades....more
A tranquil beach town named Jarmuli is the setting of Anuradha Roy’s third novel, Sleeping on Jupiter, which won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and made the longlist for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Four older women travel as friends in search of a bucolic vacation, and a young woman, contending with the trauma of her past, finds her stay in Jarmuli tied with theirs....more
In the best collaborations, creative individuals push themselves to work with new media and singular, wild things issue forth. Jeff Antebi of Waxploitation Records has managed to create just this kind of magic in his book, Stories for Ways and Means....more
Patrick Madden teaches writing at Brigham Young University and is the author of the essay collection Quotidiana. His essays frequently appear in literary magazines and have been featured in The Best Creative Nonfiction and The Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies....more
Upon publication of his first novel, Balls, author Julian Tepper received pointed advice from one Philip Roth: quit. What the elder statesman, on the verge of his own retirement, was trying to say is that the writing life is “just torture,” and he should spare himself the suffering....more
Thalia Field’s latest work, Experimental Animals: (A Reality Fiction), published by Solid Objects, is a novel that makes you wonder anew about the possibilities of the genre. Told in the voice of Marie Francoise “Fanny” Bernard, wife of Claude Bernard, a founder of physiology and zealous practitioner of vivisection, the book is the culmination of over a decade of research and work....more
Leah Kaminsky’s debut novel, The Waiting Room, depicts one fateful day in the life of an Australian doctor and mother, Dina, living in Haifa, Israel. Dina is trying to maintain normalcy as she goes about her work as a family doctor, cares for her son, and fights to preserve her faltering relationship with her husband, with whom she’s expecting a daughter....more
It can be hard to describe a Jesse Ball novel. They’re willfully strange, dark and puzzling, but the pieces aren’t always designed to fit together. Instead, each of his books, which are always written in the first person, have a tendency to take the reader into the heads of the lead characters, which is often more treacherous than the physical landscape....more
Donald Ray Pollock has been steadily serving up plates of mild horror since his first book of short stories, Knockemstiff, appeared in 2008. Pollock followed the explosion of Knockemstiff with The Devil All the Time, in 2011, his first novel, which also bordered on the genre of mystery, again with generous servings of darkness....more
With a mix of humor, agility, and insight, Jade Chang’s debut novel, The Wangs vs. the World (HMH Books, October 2016), tells a fresh immigrant story. Charles Wang has left his native homeland to become a successful businessman in America. The book takes us on a journey with his whole family as they navigate the ups and downs of fortune and travel across the US....more
Edited by queer porn performer and LGBTQ activist Jiz Lee, Coming Out Like a Porn Star is a wide-ranging compilation of answers to questions only sex industry pros seem to get. (And if you guessed, “Does your mother know?” to be at the top of the queries you are correct.)
Since the announcement of the book early last year, the sex worker-penned anthology has been named to Reason’s list of “Best Sex-Work Books of 2015,” and has even made it onto the syllabi at college campuses....more
The multitalented Miranda July has departed from her usual theme of everyday people and enlisted ten celebrities and public figures to divulge emails from their personal inboxes....more
Gary Lutz, who in many circles is already known as a master of sentences, takes it to another level in his new collection, Divorcer (Calamari Press). Some of the sentences are so loaded and wild with commas and compound words, that they’re like an alchemy of what future historians will call the “Lutzian” style—emotionally dense, perverse, and grammatically audacious....more
Beijing was changing under his feet, and expatriate Alan Paul was changing, too.
A transplanted suburban dad, he was a “trailing spouse” who followed his wife on her promotion and relocation from New Jersey to Beijing. A writer used to watching the kids while working for Guitar Magazine and Slam, the leisure of overseas domestic help gave him time to begin a personal blog, and later, the online column “Expat Life” for the Wall Street Journal....more
I interviewed author, Sarah Kilborne, who lives in the same town as I do, Hudson, New York, and takes banjo lessons downstairs in my father’s music store that I live above.
We had dinner a few months ago, where I picked her brain about the writing life, and we both overate pasta....more
Gregory is an eighty-two-year-old Russian Jewish man who works across the aisle from me at a nonprofit community center in Palo Alto. I’d always been curious about why he was still working. When I asked him for an interview, he said he wasn’t very interesting....more
Terry Gearlds and I have never met. We’re friends on Facebook. We share some stuff in common like True Blood and horror movies. Also, anytime either of us see a picture of Bradley Cooper with no shirt on our nipples get hard....more
I met Grace Smith (Yup’ik) when I was researching an article for The Circle, a Native American newspaper in the Twin Cities.
The Native community in the Twin Cities is very complex, with people from many different tribes and nations....more
I heard about Margaret Murray before I met her: strange rumors about her being a kept woman in LA and a sad, true story of her apartment burning down in San Francisco.
Of course I wanted to befriend her. In the early ’90s we played together in combustible “super-mini-groups”—Job’s Daughters and Heavenly Ten Stems—and I had the chick-bassist slot for two months in (then-named) Caroliner Open Wound Chorale before quitting....more
My sister is six years younger, and as kids we never got along. In high school, I went through a phase that involved a lot of sneaking out to drink coffee and do pink-hearts with my friends. I had to creep past her room and, I always worried that she was going to wake up and sound an alarm....more
There’s fisherman who is famous in my town in northern Holland, near the sea. They say he has been around the world a few times, so I thought I would ask him some questions. A very short interview followed....more