Interviews

Ask a Local: Madiha Sattar, Dubai

With MADIHA SATTAR

Juice menus at old-school Dubai cafes

Juice menus at old-school Dubai cafes

 

Your name: Madiha Sattar

Current city or town: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

How long have you lived here:
A year and nine months

Three words to describe the climate: Hot to scorching

Best time of year to visit? November through March. The temperature is in the 60s or 70s, sunbathing on the beach becomes possible and the city finally starts buzzing with outdoor dining and with arts and culture, including Art Dubai, Dubai Design Week and the Dubai International Film Festival.

Isabel MeyersAsk a Local: Madiha Sattar, Dubai
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Awkward Sex Scenes Are My Superpower: An Interview with Bethany Ball

DENNIS NORRIS II interviews BETHANY BALL

Bethany Ball headshot

This year, Bethany Ball’s debut novel What to Do About the Solomons took the literary world by storm, garnering a rave review from The New York Times and a short-listing for The Center For Fiction’s First Novel Prize. In What to Do About the Solomons, Ball writes a provocative, sexy, and darkly funny tale about a multigenerational family with origins in an Israeli kibbutz. She moves us between decades and continents, from lonely childhood to lonely adulthood to the home raid of an alleged money launderer. Perhaps all in a day in for this intricate family that moves simultaneously closer together and farther apart.

In this month’s interview, Dennis Norris II and Bethany Ball talk writing multigenerational families, awkward sex scenes, and more.   

Sunna JuhnAwkward Sex Scenes Are My Superpower: An Interview with Bethany Ball
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Some Voice Has Spoken: an interview with Kirun Kapur

ISABEL MEYERS interviews KIRUN KAPURkirun kapur headshotKirun Kapur is a poet, teacher, poetry editor at The Drum, and author of the collection Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist. Kapur’s debut volume, which grapples with themes of borders, religion, and feminism, feels more relevant by the day since its release in 2015.

Last fall, Kapur taught at Amherst College. She recently spoke to former student Isabel Meyers about Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist; the intersection of personal and political history; girlhood; family as a sense of place; and trusting the poem’s voice.

Isabel MeyersSome Voice Has Spoken: an interview with Kirun Kapur
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Ask a Local: Anzhelina Polonskaya, Frankfurt, Germany

With ANZHELINA POLONSKAYA

Frankfurt city skyline along the River Main

Your name: Anzhelina Polonskaya

Current city or town: Frankfurt

How long have you lived here: 2 years

Three words to describe the climate: windy in winter

Best time of year to visit?: spring, summer


1) The most striking physical features of this city/town are
. . . The skylines and the River Main. Frankfurt was destroyed during the second war, and the skylines give a “fresh air” to the city. Of course, I cannot compare the city to New York or Chicago, but I think the modern architecture makes Frankfurt unique, if we are talking about Germany in general, and fits in general the composition of the city. Everything is around the River Main: holidays, boats, sports, cafes and walkways.

Sunna JuhnAsk a Local: Anzhelina Polonskaya, Frankfurt, Germany
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Our Quest for Safety: an interview with Jill Eisenstadt

JULIA PIKE interviews JILL EISENSTADT

Jill Eisenstadt at the beach

Jill Eisenstadt by Beowulf Sheehan

Jill Eisenstadt’s latest book, Swell, was released to acclaim in June—Rolling Stone called it “the literary comeback of the year,”—thirty years after her debut novel with the same setting, From Rockaway.

In Swell, Eisenstadt tells the story of the Glassmans, a family of four who relocate from Tribeca to Rockaway, New York, in the aftermath of 9/11. The house they move into, like the Glassmans themselves, comes with a fraught history; their confrontation with this past reaches a crescendo that will make readers rethink what it means to love thy neighbor.

In this month’s interview, editorial assistant Julia Pike and Eisenstadt discuss marginalized communities, emotional truth, and the author’s return to Rockaway.

Debbie WenOur Quest for Safety: an interview with Jill Eisenstadt
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Ask a Local: Kayla Rae Whitaker, Louisville, Kentucky

With Kayla Rae Whitaker

Louisville bridge

How long have you lived here: One year. Still feels very new.

Three words to describe the climate:
Because it’s July, humid – on some days, the air feels like drinking cotton. In the winters, damp. But in the fall – particularly the long falls – and the spring, it feels forgiving.

Best time of year to visit? NOT DERBY. May is a beautiful time in Kentucky, but Derby snarls Louisville traffic in the worst possible way. I say this as a newcomer to the city (while I wrote about Louisville, I had never lived there until this year). It only took one Derby weekend for me to see some of the most ridiculous displays of driving I’ve ever seen. Early summer is a good bet. Fall’s nice too.

Flavia MartinezAsk a Local: Kayla Rae Whitaker, Louisville, Kentucky
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The Personal (Essay) is Not Dead: an interview with Mensah Demary

MELODY NIXON interviews MENSAH DEMARY

Mensah Demary headshot

Mensah Demary as an editor is most known for his work with Catapult Nonfiction, and more recently, Black Balloon. But Mensah Demary the writer is a force to be reckoned with. The Common published his essay “Blood and Every Beat” in our most recent issue, No. 13. In this month’s Q&A, Interviews Editor Melody Nixon talks with Demary about audience and desire, creative partnerships, “getting out of his own way,” and why the personal essay is not dead (“the idea is absurd”).

 

Isabel MeyersThe Personal (Essay) is Not Dead: an interview with Mensah Demary
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