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Luke Dani Blue is the author of the debut story collection Pretend It’s My Body, available from The Feminist Press. It is the official September pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Blue’s stories have appeared in the Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, and have been included on the list of the year’s most distinguished stories in Best American Short Stories 2016. Originally from Michigan, Luke (they/them) is a two-time college dropout and time-traveling Victorian invalid who resides most reliably on the internet. They are also an astrologer.

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Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Timothy Willis Sanders is the author of the story collection Modern Massacres (Publishing Genius).

 

Modern Massacres is Timothy Willis Sanders’s third book and second collection of short stories. In the vein of Orange Juice (his first collection with PGP, from 2010), stories like “John Lennon,” “Officer Walter,” and “Glasses” examine contemporary life in a familiar, canny way. Humorous and full of keen observations, Sanders writes with care and respect for his characters, from the innocent kids to the flawed adults, all of whom are looking for connection and approval—or at least some kindness in a world that isn’t always easy to live in.

***
Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Merch

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Melissa Chadburn is the author of the debut novel A Tiny Upward Shove, available from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

 

Chadburn’s writing has appeared in The Los Angeles TimesThe New York Times Book ReviewThe New York Review of BooksThe Paris Review DailyThe Best American Food Writing, and many other publications. Her extensive reporting on the child welfare system appears in the Netflix docuseries The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez. Melissa is a worker lover and through her own labor and literary citizenship strives to upend economic violence. Her mother taught her how to sharpen a pencil with a knife and she’s basically been doing that ever since. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Southern California and lives in greater Los Angeles.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

Subscribe to Brad Listi’s email newsletter.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

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The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Nada Alic is the author of the debut story collection Bad Thoughts, available from Vintage. It is the official August pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

Alic’s story “The Intruder” was shortlisted for the CBC Short Fiction Prize 2019. “My New Life” was published in No Tokens Journal. She lives in Los Angeles.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Support the show on Patreon

Merch

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Email the show: letters [at] otherppl [dot] com

The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Ingrid Rojas Contreras is the author of the memoir The Man Who Could Move Clouds, available from Doubleday.

 

Contreras was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her debut novel Fruit of the Drunken Tree was the silver medal winner in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and a New York Times editor’s choice. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the New York Times MagazineThe Believer, and Zyzzyva, among others. She lives in California.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Merch

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Lynne Tillman is the author of Mothercare: On Obligation, Love, Death, and Ambivalence, available from Soft Skull.

 

Tillman is a novelist, short story writer, and cultural critic. Her novels are Haunted Houses; Motion Sickness; Cast in Doubt; No Lease on Life, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; American Genius, A Comedy, and Men and Apparitions. Her nonfiction books include The Velvet Years: Warhol’s Factory 1965-1967, with photographs by Stephen Shore; Bookstore: The Life and Times of Jeannette Watson and Books & Co.; and What Would Lynne Tillman Do?, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. Tillman is Professor/Writer-in-Residence in the Department of English at The University of Albany, and lives in New York with bass player David Hofstra.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Isaac Fitzgerald is the author of the memoir-in-essays Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional, available from Bloomsbury.

 

Fitzgerald appears frequently on The Today Show and is the author of the bestselling children’s book How to Be a Pirate as well as the co-author of Pen & Ink and Knives & Ink (winner of an IACP Award). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Best American Nonrequired Reading, and numerous other publications. He lives in Brooklyn.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Support the show on Patreon

Merch

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The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

David Koepp is the author of the novel Aurora, available from Harper. It is the official July pick of the TNB Book Club.

 

Koepp has written or co-written the screenplays for more than thirty films, including Carlito’s Way (1993), Jurassic Park (1993), Mission: Impossible (1996), Panic Room (2002), Spider-Man (2002), War of the Worlds (2005), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Angels & Demons (2009), and Kimi (2022).

As a director, his work includes the films The Trigger Effect (1996), Stir of Echoes (1999), Secret Window (2004), Ghost Town (2007), Premium Rush (2012), and You Should Have Left (2020). Ghost Townand Premium Rush were co-written with John Kamps.

Koepp’s first novel, Cold Storage, was published in 2019. His story “Yard Work,” narrated by Kevin Bacon, was released by Audible Originals in July 2020.

He was born in Pewaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from UCLA’s film school in 1986. He lives in New York City with his wife and children.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Merch

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Teddy Wayne is the author of the novel The Great Man Theory, available from Bloomsbury.

 

Wayne’s other novels include Apartment, Loner, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, and Kapitoil. He is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship as well as a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award, PEN/Bingham Prize, and Dayton Literary Peace Prize. A former columnist for the New York Timesand McSweeney’sand a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, he has taught at Columbia University and Washington University in St. Louis. He has developed films and series from his novels with HBO, MGM Television, and Mad Dog Films. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the writer Kate Greathead, and their children.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Merch

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The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Chantal V. Johnson is the author of the debut novel Post-Traumatic, available from Little, Brown.

 

Johnson is a tenant lawyer and writer. A graduate of Stanford Law School and a 2018 Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellow, she lives in New York.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Merch

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The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

 

In putting together a syllabus for a creative writing class, my wife was recently poring over lists of classic short stories and came across Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. Whether Henry James’s definition of a short story was closer to everyone else’s definition of a novella, or this was merely a glitch of the algorithm, the surprising appearance of Screw’s 40,000 words on a list of short stories does bring up the problem of classification — a problem that narratives of a certain length inevitably present. The form of the short story, its scope often defined by the attention span of a single sitting, has been exhaustively theorized, as has the boundlessness of the novel. But the short novel, as a form, remains discussed largely in terms of what it isn’t. It isn’t the single room of a short story, nor is it the sprawling estate of the novel. 

 

Later this year, my fourth novel will be published, and it will be my third to sit comfortably between one hundred and two hundred pages. That’s a length that now seems to reflect the shape that narratives naturally take in my brain. In trying to think more about the tidy allure of the short novel, about its possibilities rather than just its parameters, I discussed some highlights of the form with Ravi Mangla, whose recent book, The Observant, is both his second novel and his second short novel. It’s the story of a documentarian who is held captive by the dictator of an unnamed country. This follows Understudies, which follows a high school teacher whose sense of meaning becomes troubled when a Hollywood actress comes to town. 

 


 

Kevin Allardice: When you think of the shapes your two novels have taken, what’s a short novel that has served as a reference point for you?

 

Ravi Mangla: Mary Robison’s Why Did I Ever was the first short novel I read with a segmented structure. Her sharp, pithy writing appealed to my comic sensibilities and opened my eyes to different structural possibilities. 

 

I imagine Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation (a wonderful book in its own right) introduced many readers to the segmented novel, but Mary Robison has been writing short, segmented, achingly funny books for a good two decades. It’s a style and structure that comes most naturally to me as a writer (both The Observant and my first novel, Understudies, are written in short, frantic bursts), and I love reading works that play with that format in interesting ways.

 

How about your touchstone?

Austin Kleon is the New York Times bestselling author of a trilogy of books on creativity in the digital age, including Steal Like an Artistnow celebrating its 10th year in print—Show Your Work!, and Keep Going.

 

Kleon is also the author of Newspaper Blackout, a collection of poems made by redacting the newspaper with a permanent marker. His books have been translated into dozens of languages and have sold over a million copies worldwide. He’s been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street JournalNew York Magazine called his work “brilliant,” The Atlantic called him “positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet,” and The New Yorker said his poems “resurrect the newspaper when everybody else is declaring it dead.” He speaks for organizations such as Pixar, Google, SXSW, TEDx, and The Economist. In previous lives, he worked as a librarian, a web designer, and an advertising copywriter. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and sons. Visit him online at www.austinkleon.com.

***
Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Side 1: He was always a freak / He never tried to fit in / He head butted his rival / He wrote a story about a serial killer / I saw him shoot a squirrel with a bb gun in second grade / He ate lunch in the bathroom / He drew a swastika on the lunch room wall / His father was in Jail / His mother waited tables at the strip joint / He threatened to beat the shit out of some kid who called him fat / He listened to death metal / He was on the spectrum, or something / He had an eating disorder, or something / He was a certified schizophrenic / It was like one day a switch just flipped / They should have seen it coming / He liked the dark side of the Web  / He never had a girlfriend / He failed all his classes / So many red flags / He worked at the shooting range / He wore all black and had neck tattoos / He said wanted to be dead when he grows up / He carried around a weird black notebook / He mapped it all out on his Twitter feed / He never spoke in class / He slept in class / He laughed for no reason / He liked to cut class / He got sent to the principal’s office for threatening to filet the teacher, then they sent him back him right back to class. 

Marcy Dermansky is the author of the novel Hurricane Girl, available from Knopf.

 

Dermansky is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Very Nice, The Red CarBad Marie, and Twins. She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and The Edward F. Albee Foundation. She lives with her daughter in Montclair, New Jersey.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Merch

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The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.

Sloane Crosley is the author of the novel Cult Classic, available from MCD/FSG.

 

Crosley is the author of The New York Times bestselling essay collections, I Was Told There’d Be Cake (a 2009 finalist for The Thurber Prize for American Humor) and How Did You Get This Number, as well as Look Alive Out There (a 2019 finalist for The Thurber Prize for American Humor) and the bestselling novel, The Clasp. She served as editor of The Best American Travel Writing series and is featured in The Library of America’s 50 Funniest American Writers, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Phillip Lopate’s The Contemporary American Essay and others. She was the inaugural columnist for The New York Times Op-Ed “Townies” series, a contributing editor at Interview Magazine, and a columnist for The Village Voice, Vanity Fair, The Independent, Black Book, Departures and The New York Observer. She is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Her next nonfiction book, Grief Is for People, will be published in 2023. She lives in New York City.

***

Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

Launched in 2011. Books. Literature. Writing. Publishing. Authors. Screenwriters. Etc.

Available where podcasts are available: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, etc.

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Merch

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The podcast is a proud affiliate partner of Bookshop, working to support local, independent bookstores.