Interviews

  1. Alexander Chee: I wanted it to have some of the feeling of a fairy tale, but also some of the feeling of the autobiography of a celebrity from that time. Like the autobiographies of Sarah Bernhardt or Cora Pearl or Celeste Mogador, but if they were a little bewitched. Like a story from Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber if it ran off to hide in the autobiography section.

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  2. "I try not to do anything that’s not paid anymore, because it’s really hard to justify your work when you’re doing things for free. People assume that what you do is very easy if you don’t ask for money."

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  3. I grew up Catholic -- all my dad's siblings have saint's names, and my Nana refused to speak to my mum for a while after my brother was born because she spelled Mathew with one t so it didn't count as a saint's name. This is what happens when Irish and Italian Catholics marry each other.

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  4. I like talking with people who have changed religions. Here is one of them. Previously: Aadita Chaudhury. Can you tell me a little bit about your religious background growing up? Did your parents talk much about their own faith, or take you to any religious services? When do you first remember being aware of the concept of God, and what did you think of it? I grew up very Catholic. My mother's side was Irish and…

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  5. Nicole Chung: In your Author’s Note at the end of Carry On, you wrote that after creating Simon and Baz and telling some of their story in Fangirl, you just weren’t ready to let go of them. Why did these two characters mean so much to you, and were you at all surprised to find yourself continuing their story? Rainbow Rowell: I think I felt like I’d created these characters and this whole world, but…

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  6. "We often think of intercountry adoption as this personal, private thing between an adoptee and their adoptive parents and birth parents. But adoption and intercountry adoption are also extremely public acts. They are influenced by large forces like national laws; ideas about race, gender, family; geopolitics, etc. In turn, adoption is used in the public sphere to signify certain things -- like America’s goodness or antiracism. A more complex view of intercountry adoption should lead…

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  7. Malena Magnolia was sitting at a table with her best friend, Harley, waiting to pick up a pizza to go, when a stranger approached them. “This dude is talking to us and saying all this vulgar stuff,” Malena recalls. The two did their best to ignore him, but he was persistent, trying to provoke a response. Harley remembers watching her best friend. She could sense Malena’s frustration boiling. Finally, Malena turned and looked…

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  8. The first time I read Matthew Salesses’ work was five years ago, when we were published together in a (now-defunct) online literary journal, Pindeldyboz. Matt’s flash fiction story, one of several that would eventually form his chapbook collection Our Island of Epidemics, blew me away for its mingling of lyricism, surprise, myth, and human longing. After I reached out to tell him I admired his work, we became friends, and since then I’ve followed his career…

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  9. Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You, which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the ALA’s Alex Award, and was a finalist for numerous awards, including…

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  10. Previously: Kima Jones. Can you tell me a little bit about your religious background growing up? Did your parents talk much about their own faith, or take you to any religious services? When do you first remember being aware of the concept of God, and what did you think of it? My family is from the West Bengal state in India. My parents' religious background, strictly speaking is Hinduism, but that does not quite…

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  11. I like talking with people who have changed religions. Here is one of them.  Kima Jones is a poet and a book publicist in LA that I met through Roxane Gay at a reading about a year ago. She always wears the most incredible lipstick, and her writing gives me the shivers. I knew she'd become a Muslim as a young woman, and I'd also been giving a lot of thought to the process of religious…

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  12. I got obsessed with Oz a few a months ago, when I rewatched the entire show as I was unpacking the house. If you don’t know it—I pity you—Oz, produced by Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, is the fictional depiction of a prison and its inmates. It got decent reviews, but many critics were put off by the violence. “I am starting to think that some of the violence is excessive,” wrote the Baltimore Sun's David…

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  13. Trailing clouds of glitter from a surprise Broadway triumph in Kenneth Lonergan’s serio-comedy This Is Our Youth, Rookie magazine founder Tavi Gevinson has expanded her extensive resume to include publishing maven. In addition to compiling the fourth Rookie Yearbook, due out this fall, Gevinson just made her debut as a literary editor. In the July/August issue of Poetry, the 103-year-old magazine that introduced American readers to the likes of Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, and Edna St. Vincent Millay,…

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  14. In her new book, The Internet of Garbage, Sarah Jeong states that "the Internet is, and always has been, mostly garbage." She talked with The Toast about topics discussed in her book, including online harassment, doxing, spam, free speech, and the challenges of moderating content platforms and social media networks. You can buy Sarah's book on iTunes or Amazon. The Toast: If the Internet has always been mostly garbage, why did you write this book now?…

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  15. I've loved Alexander Chee's writing for some time, from the powerful essays that served as my introduction to his work to his debut novel, Edinburgh. Chee won a Whiting Award for Edinburgh, and is a recipient of the NEA fellowship in fiction and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Ledig House, and Civitella Ranieri. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, and on NPR. The Toast asked Alexander to talk with us about writing, teaching, changes…

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