Fiction in a world of fear

Tragedies like the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton bring everything to a stop. As we read the details and look at the pictures, we all pause, look around, and take stock of our priorities and what we hold dear. Writers are no different, except for the work we do. We’re often in the middle of describing a particular part of the world—when another part is suddenly falling apart. Jon Roemer and David Winner polled a handful of active writers and asked how public tragedies impact their current and future work—projects that may or may not portray mass shootings.

Bad Writing: Travis Jeppesen

Travis Jeppesen is bad. The United States–born, Shanghai and Berlin-based writer, artist, and critic has been rebelling against the staid, familiar form of “critical” writing and churnalism overtaking many art publications, so often press releases by another name, by carving out a form of art writing that rises to the occasion of art itself.

An Interview with Karina Longworth

In November 2018, Karina Longworth released Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes’ Hollywood, a biography of both the businessman himself and 10 of the Hollywood women who entered and eventually left his life. The Hughes decades of Hollywood are a vessel for Longworth’s snapshots of movie stars as well-remembered as Katharine Hepburn and as lost-to-history as Billie Dove. The bulk of the book covers Hughes’ bursting onto the movie scene in the ‘20s to his gradual retreat into seclusion in the ‘50s.

An Interview with Eileen Myles

Eileen Myles moves around a lot. We met for an hour because they had more places to be: a reading by some of their students and then their own reading in Ridgewood. I bungled my public transit route and was late to the interview. I received a text saying “What if we meet at 3:45. I will nap. See you then.” The ease through which they move around the city makes it clear that Myles is no recent transplant.

An Interview with Aleksey Porvin

ISW: I will not be able to ask you the first question that I should ask a Russian poet at this moment, because you live in a country where you might face severe consequences for answering it. We will have to conduct this conversation in the shadow of that fact as if it were something acceptable, which it isn’t. That means that my first question will have to be something else. So, I will start by giving you an opportunity to tell readers a little about your own background and experiences. What is it like being a contemporary Russian poet?

Asides & Strangers

An intelligent and exciting debut short story collection, White Dancing Elephants (Dzanc Books, Oct 2018) focuses on the varied experiences of women of color. Bhuvaneswar deftly explores the complexities of intersectional feminism through tales about queer Indian women, queer biracial women, diverse immigrants, narrators with physical and mental illnesses, women of color coping with the trauma of miscarriage and rape, etc. Chaya's prose is simultaneously crisp, clear, and layered with storytelling references.