interviews

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - 8:57am

James Hannaham is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, an MFA teacher, and the author of the novel God Says No, which was a finalist for a Lambda Book Award and a semifinalist for a VCU First Novelist Award. Hannaham’s work interweaves social critique and strong characterization with robust plot, and he was recently praised by The New York Times for the way he makes the commonplace spring to life with nothing more than astute observation and precise language.” Melody Nixon met with Hannaham in downtown Manhattan the day before his latest novel, Delicious Foods, was released from Little, Brown and Company. They discussed place, politics, and racism as a curse.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 7:00am

Brian Sholis is Associate Curator of Photography at the Cincinnati Art Museum. He writes about photography, landscapes, and American history, all of which topics are combined in his essay “Our Poor Perishable World, appearing in Issue 08 of The Common. In this chat with Oregonian S. Tremaine Nelson, Sholis touches on the American West, beauty and destruction, and the similarities between fiction and photography.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 3:47pm

Jonathan Moody is a poet and professor. His first full-length collection, The Doomy Poems, deals with time and place through persona poems, and is described by Terrance Hayes as having an “innovative funkiness that transcends the ruckus and heartache of our modern world.” Moody’s second poetry collection, Olympic Butter Gold, won the 2014 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize and will be published in summer this year. His poem “Dear 2Pac” appears in Issue 08 of The Common, and his “Portrait of Hermes as a B-Boy,” “Kleosphobia,” and “Paranoid,” have all been featured at The Common Online. Melody Nixon caught up with Moody this winter, and between New Zealand and Texas they talked poetry activism, politics, Houston skyscrapers, and the cosmopolitan radiance of Downtown Pittsburgh.

Photo by author

Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 12:40pm

Diane Cook’s debut short-story collection Man V. Nature was recently published by HarperCollins. The New York Times called it a book of “great beauty and strangeness.” Cook is a former producer on NPR’s “This American Life” and a graduate of the Graduate Writing Program at Columbia University. She currently lives in Oakland, California where she is at work on a novel. S. Tremaine Nelson talked with Cook about writing “unnerving stories, her least favorite author, and the many perks of novel writing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - 7:00am

Sarah Smarsh has reported on social justice, the environment, culture, and class for Harper’s, The Huffington Post, Guernica, The Pitch, Aeon, and others. She holds an MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University, as well as degrees in journalism and English from the University of Kansas, and has taught at Washburn University, Columbia, and elsewhere. A fellow of the Center for Kansas Studies, earlier in her career she wrote about her home state for everything from airline magazines to pop-history paperback series. Her essay “Death of the Farm Family” appears in Issue 08 of The Common. Marni Berger and Smarsh discussed the privilege of rootedness in America and what it means to be “often from” a place.

Friday, November 7, 2014 - 10:28am

Benjamin Anastas is the author of Too Good to be True, a memoir described by The New York Times as smart and honest and searching,” and so plaintive and raw it will leave most writers… with heart palpitations.” He has written two novels, An Underachievers Diary, and The Faithful Narrative of a Pastors Disappearance, as well as multiple reviews and essays, one of which, Boys with a Synth,” is published in Issue 06 of The Common. Melody Nixon talked with Anastas about his skepticism for social media, the role of the writer in society, and memoir as fictionwhiny and embarrassing stepchild.” 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 6:00am

Judith Frank is the author of the novel, Crybaby Butch, and a professor of English at Amherst College. She received a B.A. from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a Ph.D. in English literature and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Cornell. She has been the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, and support from both Yaddo and MacDowell. Marni and Judith spoke online about Judy’s new novel, All I Love and Know, and what it means to write about violence in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Valerie Duff in Mexico City, 1979

Monday, September 1, 2014 - 1:57pm

Valerie Duff is the author of the poetry collection To the New World. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Prague Revue, Ploughshares, Blackbox Manifold, Poetry Northeast, AGNI, Gulf Coast, and Issue 07 of The Common. She is poetry editor of Salamander Magazine. Marni Berger and Valerie Duff spoke long distance this summer about Mexico City, Virginia, Boston, and writing poetry as if you’re sorting through a dream world.

Murray Farish headshot

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 9:51am

Murray Farish headshot

Murray Farish’s short stories have appeared in The Missouri Review, Epoch, Roanoke Review, and Black Warrior Review, among other publications. He lives with his wife and two sons in St. Louis, Missouri, where he teaches writing and literature at Webster University. Inappropriate Behavior is his debut short story collection. Murray answered the following questions via email.

Gainesville, FL

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 9:59am

 

Justin Taylor is the author of the short story collection Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever (2010) and the novel The Gospel of Anarchy (2011). His latest collection Flings is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Melody Nixon caught up with him in Brooklyn, New York, to discuss the progression of his work, fiction like a warm bath, and riding reindeer into rivers.

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