Weekly Inspiration for Writers
This week is a special episode in which Grant interviews New York Times best-selling author Ali Benjamin about how she reinvented Edith Wharton’s 1911 novella, Ethan Frome, for a modern-day audience. This interview, too, is as much about process than it is anything else—how Ali writes and constructs her stories, why she prefers revision over new writing, and the challenges she faced in creating a current-events story set against the backdrop of the Kavanaugh hearings. Not to be missed!
To access the universal, start with the particular. This is guest Valarie Kaur’s response to the question of how she’s able to access such profound and resonant themes and messages in her work. With this and more, Kaur, who leads the Revolutionary Love Project, talks about her writing process, the experience of delivering her popular TED talk, and her journey to becoming an author after years and years of being told her work didn’t matter. This episode beckons listeners to reach for their own ordinary courage and to see what blooms when it’s tended to.
The multi-generational story is one of the best-loved and most epic forms of fiction. In her debut novel, guest Gabriela Garcia beautifully executes a matrilinear story, and this week’s episode dives deep into questions of structure, legacy, voice, and centering women in fiction. Garcia’s Of Women and Salt is an extraordinary contribution to this literary form, and this insightful interview offers a glimpse into some of the considerations the author faced in the writing of the book.
Confessional writing—what is it? Something that needs to be defended? Just another way to disparage writers whose subject is self? This week’s episode with poet Kim Addonizio takes a look at what confessional writing might be, why the very characterization is problematic, and why Kim considers herself to be a poet of ideas.
Many authors discover their love of publishing through the process of publishing their work independently. In this episode, entrepreneur and publisher Tieshena Davis walks us through her journey from author to publisher, and inspires with her story of purpose and drive. This episode explores the intersection between doing what you love and loving what you do.
This week we’re spotlighting Middle Grade—as an evolving genre that’s increasingly popular not only with readers, but writers; and as a meaningful form that shapes kids’ understanding of the world. We’re geeking out with Middle Grade author Claire Swinarski—and even if you’re not writing Middle Grade, if you have a kid in your life, or were a reader as a kid, this episode is full of insights and information you won’t want to miss.
This week’s episode is in partnership with WomenLit and features the famously kind, down-to-earth, and beloved Ann Patchett in conversation with Brooke. Ann discusses why she doesn’t write villains, yes, but also why she invited someone she didn’t know all that well to live with her while she went through chemo treatment (the subject of her recent Harper’s piece, “These Precious Days”), as well as her experience as a bookstore owner, her ambivalence for social media, and much much more.
The family story drives so many writers to the page—regardless of genre, and in this week’s episode we hear from a writer who has an epic family story to tell. If you have a family story you want to write, you’ll relate to Louis Chude-Sokei’s exploration of needing distance on the one hand and having a fire under him to write his story on the other. We talk about Blackness in America, writing personal story in a way that highlights its uniqueness and its universality, and so much more. This episode is a real treat for anyone interested in—or wrestling with—family story.
In this upbeat and inspiring interview with The Secret Lives of Church Ladies author Deesha Philyaw, we talk about what it means to get intentional and how to get the kind of writing you really want to do off the backburner. We also get some insight into why Deesha writes about dissatisfied women and the power and influence of Bookstagramers.
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