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Lance Olsen returns to Between the Covers to discuss his two new books, his uncategorizable multiverse fiction Absolute Away, and his new collection of philosophical essays and interviews on writing Shrapnel:Contemplations. Lance’s latest novel engages with the life of Edith Metzger, an improbable footnote in two momentous events in history: 1)as t…
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For nearly twenty years Amitav Ghosh has been writing about opium and the opium trade, first in his fictional Ibis trilogy, and now in nonfiction with Smoke & Ashes. This is a story that brings together many of the preoccupying themes from Ghosh’s career: the legacies of colonialism and extractive colonial economies, the intelligence of plants and …
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Today’s guest, poet, playwright, novelist, translator, publisher, editor and critic, Joyelle McSweeney discusses her latest poetry collection Death Styles. She talks about the juxtaposing of “death” and “style” and the seam to the underworld that opens when you do, about style as survival, about writing after and into death, about eyes that spill A…
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One might ask, just what is Danielle Dutton’s latest book, Prairie, Dresses, Art, Other? A collection of stories, a philosophical essay, a sequence of nested dreams and memories, an act of loving citation, a one-act play of silent animals, a meditation on the human in the more-than-human world, on the end of the world, on writing, on reading, on vi…
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Today’s guest is one of the most important and celebrated writers in Australia today, Alexis Wright. We look together at the ways Wright reshapes the novel form to honor Aboriginal notions of story, of time, and of scale. To find a different sound and voice for the novel, one that is multiple and collective. both ancestral and visionary, one that i…
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Over the past fifteen years, Nam Le has published a book in each genre. Best known for his phenomenal 2009 debut story collection The Boat, he followed it with his 2019 debut nonfiction On David Malouf, and now, this year, his debut poetry collection 36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem. What is remarkable about these three books, is how, in a way,…
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Writer, interdisciplinary artist, editor and publisher Anne de Marcken discusses her new book It Lasts Forever and Then It’s Over. Winner of the Novel Prize, and thus published simultaneously in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, by New Directions, Fitzcarraldo Editions and Giramondo respectively, de Marcken’s new book is a deeply philosophical and met…
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Award-winning poet Canisia Lubrin talks about her debut fiction, Code Noir. The fifty-nine stories in this collection are each prefaced by one of Louis XIV’s fifty-nine “Black codes,” the rules of conduct in France and its colonies regarding slaves and slavery. And each of these codes, each of these edicts, is also engaged with, manipulated and rem…
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Today’s conversation, with poet and multimedia artist Diana Khoi Nguyen, is not to be missed. Both of her books, Ghost Of and Root Fractures, engage with and are shaped by her brother’s absence and the family silence surrounding it. Two years before his suicide, her brother quietly removed the family photos from their frames on the walls, carefully…
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Today’s conversation with Álvaro Enrigue about his latest novel, You Dreamed of Empires, translated by Natasha Wimmer, is set during the relatively undocumented first encounter between Moctezuma and Hernán Cortés. The novel dilates the knife’s edge moment when the Aztec emperor invites the conquistador, with his small band of Spanish soldiers, into…
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Is Mathias Énard’s latest book formally influenced by the Buddhist Wheel of Time, by Jewish undertaker guilds, by François Rabelais’s scatological and philosophical prose and linguistic wordplay, by Catholic altarpiece polyptych panel paintings, and by the scandalous diaries of a Polish anthropologist? The Annual Banquet of the Gravediggers’ Guild …
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We are kicking off the new year with a serious blast from the past. A recording from the very first Tin House writers workshop in the summer of 2003 with novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, and screenwriter Denis Johnson. This three-part episode includes a remarkable reading from Johnson’s novella Train Dreams, an interview of Johnson b…
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Perhaps it is fitting that today’s episode, with writer and founding editor of Witch Craft Magazine, Elle Nash, is launched on the shortest day of the year, the longest night of darkness. Nash’s new novel Deliver Me explores the ways society tries to keep the light and the dark separate, to hide our unasked questions and forbidden desires in the sh…
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