780 episodes

Interviews with Writers about their New Books
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    • Arts
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Interviews with Writers about their New Books
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    Noor Naga, “Who Writes the Arabian Gulf?” The Common magazine (Fall, 2021)

    Noor Naga, “Who Writes the Arabian Gulf?” The Common magazine (Fall, 2021)

    Noor Naga speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about co-editing The Common’s first-of-its-kind portfolio of writing from the Arabian Gulf, which appeared in Issue 22. Noor penned an introduction to the portfolio, titled “Who Writes the Arabian Gulf?”, which explores her experience growing up in the Gulf with no real contemporary literature written for, by, or about that diverse population. Noor discusses her idea to create the portfolio, what she enjoyed about assembling it from submissions, and what themes unite the pieces that became part of it. She also talks about her forthcoming novel from Graywolf Press, and why an earlier novel didn’t find a home in publishing.
    Noor Naga is an Alexandrian writer who was born in Philadelphia, raised in Dubai, studied in Toronto, and now lives in Cairo. Her verse-novel Washes, Prays, which won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and an Arab American Book Award, was published by McClelland & Stewart in 2020. Her debut novel If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English won the Graywolf Press Africa Prize and is forthcoming in April 2022 from Graywolf Press. Read her essay in The Common at thecommononline.org/who-writes-the-arabian-gulf.
    Read more from Noor at noornaga.com, or follow her on Twitter @noor_naga.
    The Common is a print and online literary magazine publishing stories, essays, and poems that deepen our collective sense of place. On our podcast and in our pages, The Common features established and emerging writers from around the world. Read more and subscribe to the magazine at thecommononline.org, and follow us on Twitter @CommonMag.
    Emily Everett is managing editor of The Common and host of the podcast. Her stories appear in the Kenyon Review, Electric Literature, Tin House Online, and Mississippi Review. She holds an MA in literature from Queen Mary University of London, and a BA from Smith College. Say hello on Twitter @Public_Emily.
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    • 37 min
    Sue Lynn Tan, "Daughter of the Moon Goddess" (Harper Voyager, 2022)

    Sue Lynn Tan, "Daughter of the Moon Goddess" (Harper Voyager, 2022)

    Today I talked to Sue Lynn Tan about her new book Daughter of the Moon Goddess (Harper Voyager, 2022).
    The immortal Xinyin lives a quiet life on the moon with her mother the Moon Goddess, and a devoted servant. When an innocent Xinyin ignores her mother’s warning, her actions raise the suspicion of the Empress of the Celestial Kingdom, who swoops in for an unannounced visit. Xinyin has never questioned her isolation, but now her mother reveals that her existence is a secret which would lead to punishment for them both, if it were known.
    Xinyin is forced to flee her home before the Empress returns, but her travels are interrupted by a storm. She ends up in the last place where she would want to be—the court of the Celestial Kingdom itself. No one suspects her true identity. Xinyin must keep her secret safe, even as she becomes closer and closer to the Empress’ own son, Prince Liwei, who is as compassionate as his mother is cruel. When their growing love for each other threaten the path each should take, Xinyin decides the best course of action is become an archer in the Emperor’s army. But not all the danger will come from the monsters she faces on the battlefield.
    You can follow Gabrielle on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more @GabrielleAuthor.
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    • 33 min
    Karen Odden, "Down a Dark River" (Crooked Lane Books, 2021)

    Karen Odden, "Down a Dark River" (Crooked Lane Books, 2021)

    In Karen Odden’s latest mystery (Down a Dark River, Crooked Lane Books 2021) it’s 1878 in London, and Scotland Yard inspector Michael Corravan, a former thief and bare-knuckles boxer, is battling demons, including his urge to drown his troubles in drink. In the wake of a police corruption scandal that threatens to shut down Scotland Yard, Corravan is assigned the case of a young, wealthy woman whose corpse has been set adrift in a small boat on the Thames River. At first, the murder seems to be linked to a stolen heirloom necklace, but then a second dead woman appears and then a third. As the press riles up London and blames Scotland Yard, Corravan’s search for clues takes him from insane asylums to jewelry stores and from brothels to wealthy Mayfair homes. Then his lady friend is threatened, and Inspector Corravan must confront the darkness in his own past to understand the killer and prevent yet another murder from taking place.
    KAREN ODDEN received her Ph.D. in English literature from New York University, writing her dissertation on Victorian railway disasters and the origins of PTSD. She has taught at UW-Milwaukee, written essays for numerous books and journals, and edited for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge UP). She freely admits she might be more at home in Victorian London than today, especially when she tries to do anything complicated on her iPhone. All of her mysteries are set in 1870s London. Her first novel, A LADY IN THE SMOKE, about a young woman in a 1874 railway crash, was a USA Today bestseller. In A DANGEROUS DUET, Nell Hallam, an ambitious young pianist stumbles on a notorious crime ring while playing in a Soho music hall. In A TRACE OF DECEIT, Annabel Rowe, a young painter at the Slade School of Art, must delve below the glitter of the art and auction world to uncover the truth about her brother's murder. DOWN A DARK RIVER is Karen's fourth novel and the first in the Inspector Corravan series; the sequel, UNDER A VEILED MOON, will be released in November 2022. An avid desert hiker, Karen lives in Arizona with her family and her rescue beagle muse, Rosy.
    G.P. Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series and a prolific baker of healthful breads and pastries. Please contact her through her website (GPGottlieb.com).
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    • 32 min
    Cara Blue Adams, "You Never Get It Back" (U Iowa Press, 2021)

    Cara Blue Adams, "You Never Get It Back" (U Iowa Press, 2021)

    An interview with Cara Blue Adams, author of You Never Get It Back (University of Iowa Press, 2021). Cara and I discuss the joys of linked short story collections, the lack of adequate vocabulary to describe working people in the United States, the many moods of everyday life, and how humor works in her stories.
    These are stories of exquisite observation and the quiet beauty of everyday life. You Never Get It Back is a collection of linked stories that follows Kate, a young woman moving through her twenties and thirties, first as a research scientist and later as a budding writer. Kate is for this reader, the best of what makes us impossibly human—our need for others, matched against our desire to be meaningful as a singular person in the world.
    Cara Recommends:

    Maria Gainza, Optic Nerve


    Joan Didion, Play it as it Lays


    Franz Kafka, The Trial


    Sara Manguso, Very Cold People


    Sara Majka, Cities I’ve Never Lived In




    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
    Julie Hedlund on Writing Children's Books

    Julie Hedlund on Writing Children's Books

    Today I talked to Julie Hedlund. Julie is an award-winning children’s book author, founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, co-founder of Picture Book Summit, co-creator with Emma Walton Hamilton of the Complete Picture Book Submissions System, and a frequent speaker at industry events such as SCBWI conferences.
    Mel Rosenberg is a professor of microbiology (Tel Aviv University, emeritus) who fell in love with children's books as a small child and now writes his own. He is also the founder of Ourboox, a web platform that allows anyone to create and share awesome flipbooks.
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    • 53 min
    Harold Underdown on Writing and Publishing Books for Children

    Harold Underdown on Writing and Publishing Books for Children

    A wonderful conversation with renowned editor Harold Underdown who founded and runs The Purple Crayon, a respected website with information about the children's publishing world talks about his favorite children's books growing up, his original plan of becoming a school teacher which morphed into an unexpected role as assistant editor. He discusses the importance of reader response (including those responses unanticipated by the author). Harold explains why during his career he preferred helping hundreds of authors publish children's books rather than write his own and how his career as a teacher helped him understand the needs of children to see themselves in the books. Note: Since the interview took place, Harold has taken on a new position as executive editor at Kane Press.
    Mel Rosenberg is a professor of microbiology (Tel Aviv University, emeritus) who fell in love with children's books as a small child and now writes his own. He is also the founder of Ourboox, a web platform that allows anyone to create and share awesome flipbooks.
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    • 56 min

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