40 episodes

A podcast for writers and readers who are obsessive about their books. Interviews with established and up-and-coming writers, and recommendations for the best in contemporary fiction, poetry, and drama. Chris Holmes. Chris is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.

Burned By Books New Books Network

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 27 Ratings

A podcast for writers and readers who are obsessive about their books. Interviews with established and up-and-coming writers, and recommendations for the best in contemporary fiction, poetry, and drama. Chris Holmes. Chris is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.

    Grant Ginder, "Let's Not Do That Again" (Henry Holt, 2022)

    Grant Ginder, "Let's Not Do That Again" (Henry Holt, 2022)

    An interview with novelist Grant Ginder. In his latest dramady of familial disfunction, Let’s Not Do That Again (Henry Holt, 2022), Grant starts with political intrigue that bridges New York and Paris, mixes it with a wealthy and connected family in freefall, and ties it together with a transnational criminal coverup. The result is one of the most engrossing novels of the year. Grant’s work reminds us why the novel form can be both beautiful and ribald, literary and popular. I had such a wonderful time talking to Grant about how families inevitably disappoint, and how great writers can show how they manage to love each other despite themselves.
    Grant Recommends:

    Emma Straub, This Time Tomorrow


    Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind


    Jennifer Close, Marrying the Ketchups


    Antoine Wilson, Mouth to Mouth


    
    Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.
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    • 55 min
    Fernanda Melchor and Sophie Hughes, "Paradais" (New Directions, 2022)

    Fernanda Melchor and Sophie Hughes, "Paradais" (New Directions, 2022)

    An interview with Fernanda Melchor, finalist for the International Booker Prize, and author most recently of Paradais (New Directions, 2022). And Sophie Hughes, the English translator of Fernanda’s two novels, and winner of the Pen Translates Award. In a wide-ranging discussion, we touch upon the ways in which translation is akin to friendship, and how a translation can be the greatest interpretation of your work. Fernanda discusses her understanding of violence as inseparable from the story of humanity, and how she sees her style as that which persists after she has let go of the text, while Sophie addresses the question of the translator’s invisibility and the lexicons required for each new writer's work that she takes on. This episode features a bilingual reading from Paradais by Fernanda Melchor. It is not to be missed.
    Books Recommended in this episode:

    Juan Rulfo, Pedro Paramo


    José Agustín, De Perfil


    Nona Fernandez, The Twilight Zone


    Marianna Enriquez, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed


    Alia Trabucco Zerán, The Remainder


    Andrea Abreu, Dogs of Summer


    
    Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.
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    • 1 hr 17 min
    Natasha Brown, "Assembly" (Little Brown, 2022)

    Natasha Brown, "Assembly" (Little Brown, 2022)

    An interview with Natasha Brown, winner of the London Writers Award, and author of Assembly (Little Brown, 2021), the story of a young black British woman, marked by success in education and work, who asks a fundamental question: does my country care whether or I live or die? At a mere one hundred and two pages, Assembly manages to evoke more feeling, more sensorial reality than many novels twice its length. Natasha has gone to the novel’s primary function—its vision into the inner life of a character—and she has brought it to bear on the precariousness of black life. The result is a work of literary fiction that is profoundly beautiful, with passages of poetic form and lyrical description of a world that her narrator experiences as ultimately negating. Negating of her agency, her accumulated wealth and status, her education, her citizenship, and ultimately of her bare life. Suffused with its contemporary moment, with references to the police killing of Philando Castille and the white nationalist resurgence in Britain, Assembly is fundamentally a reminder that the sun has yet to set on the imperial mindset, and that the black body and the black intellect still do not register within that logic.
    Natasha Recommends:

    Meena Kandasamy, Exquisite Cadavers


    Rachel Long, My Darling from the Lions


    Hannah Sullivan, Three Poems


    Roland Barthes, Mythologies


    bell hooks, “Postmodern Blackness”



    Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 50 min
    Jennifer Egan, "The Candy House" (Scribner, 2022)

    Jennifer Egan, "The Candy House" (Scribner, 2022)

    An interview with Jennifer Egan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and author most recently of The Candy House (Scribner, 2022), the story of the intersections across space and time of characters desperate to understand their interior lives. At the hub of these stories, a machine capable of capturing and sharing memories, and even offering the possibility of joining a collectivity of consciousness. Jennifer Egan, as always, balances perfectly the profound intellectual problems of existence with characters who feel deeply real by virtue of their uncommon minds. We get to talking about how her process is one of discovery through the unconscious practice of writing, and the ways in which certain ideas of what the reader should feel and experience guide her structure. We discuss her creation of the futuristic machine in The Candy House that, in the end, fashions what only the novel can produce: a window into the minds and memories of another. On the subject of movement back and forth through time and place, Jennifer credits a marvelous children’s novel for the concept of parallel worlds into which characters can dip in and out of. In an incredibly wide-ranging discussion, we touch upon Dungeons and Dragons, the longest and possibly best 18th century novel, the possibility of reading The Candy House as the predecessor to A Visit from the Goon Squad, and so much more.
    Jennifer Recommends:

    Lauren Groff, Matrix


    Samuel Richardson, Clarissa


    Rye Curtis, Kingdomtide


    Henry Fielding, Tom Jones


    
    Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Caitlin Barasch, "A Novel Obsession" (Dutton Book, 2022)

    Caitlin Barasch, "A Novel Obsession" (Dutton Book, 2022)

    An interview with Caitlin Barasch, author of A Novel Obsession (Dutton Books, 2022), a debut novel about a young woman convinced that she must be a writer, but entirely uncertain that she has a story worth sharing. Her solution: concoct a real-life romantic triangle featuring her boyfriend’s ex and herself as the protagonists. Caitlin and I discuss how she goes about building anticipatory dread scene by scene, and how plotting is not a dead artform in the novel. We talk about the relationship between obsession and writing, the pleasures of writing awkward sex scenes, the need for more women characters behaving badly, failing to avoid social media in art, and so much more.
    Caitlin Recommends:

    Alyssa Nutting, Tampa


    Mary Gaitskill, Veronica


    Elena Ferrante, Days of Abandonment


    Charlotte McConaghy, Migrations


    
    Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 59 min
    Allegra Hyde, "Eleutheria" (Vintage, 2022)

    Allegra Hyde, "Eleutheria" (Vintage, 2022)

    An interview with Allegra Hyde, author of Eleutheria (Vintage, 2020), a debut novel about an idealist who comes face to face with the allure and pitfalls of utopian eco-communities. Allegra and I discuss the need for hopeful narratives of a possible future in an age of climate disaster, and how and why art is poised to craft those narratives. We talk about the “stench of perfectionism” that invades some intentional communities, the pleasures of dumpster-diving with Freegans, the beautiful art of terrarium making, trying to live the solution when the world isn’t listening, and so much more.
    Books Recommended in this episode:

    Alexandra Kleeman, Something New Under the Sun


    Lydia Millet, A Children’s Bible


    Matt Bell, Appleseed


    Amitav Gosh, The Great Derangement


    Andreas Malm, How to Blow Up a Pipeline


    
    Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro as World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

Luz-y-Traducciones ,

Refreshing ♥️👍🏽

I listened to the conversation Chris had with Xochitl Gonzalez and loved to hear questions based on his knowledge of writing and literature! That definitely makes for a better conversation with the authors and when they get excited, the audience gets even more excited about their books.

oregonbookworm ,

A rare treat

It’s a pleasure to listen to such rich, compelling interviews with exciting contemporary writers. Highly recommended!

groovecanon ,

Fantastic

Chris is brilliant and so are his guests! Wonderful interviews.

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