Last Sunday I bumped into Iris Smyles, the notoriously reclusive author of the new novel Iris Has Free Time, as she was leaving her favorite stationery store in New York City’s East Village. She growled and tried to move past me, but not before I persuaded her to answer five questions about the writing life.


What do you hate most about writing?

Sharpening my pencils.


What would you do if you were not a writer?

Sharpen someone else’s pencils.


If you were banished to a desert island and could take only three things with you, what would they be?

Two pencils. One sharpener.


What do you do when you’re not sharpening pencils?



How do you want to die?

With my pencils sharp.


Iris Smyles has written for numerous publications including Nerve, New York Press, McSweeney’s and BOMB. She was awarded The Doris Lippman Prize for fiction, The Adria Schwartz Fiction Award, The Geraldine Griffin Moore Short Story Award and is a frequent contributor to Splice Today. She lives in New York.

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TNB FICTION is proud to showcase book excerpts and original short fiction from some of the finest writers in the world. Features have included work by Aimee Bender, Dan Chaon, Stuart Dybek, Jennifer Egan, Bret Easton Ellis, Roxane Gay, Etgar Keret, Antonya Nelson, and hundreds of other internationally acclaimed and emerging writers. Spotlighting a recent book release each week, TNB Fiction helps bring awareness of new literary fiction, from both trade and independent publishers, to readers around the world, providing a global, free-access arena for spotlighting the genre in an era of shrinking coverage among mainstream print publications. TNB Fiction has its finger on the pulse of a vibrant new generation of writers, as well as established literary greats whose work continues to shape the future dialogue of literary culture. Fiction Editor Rachael Warecki lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, The Masters Review, Midwestern Gothic, and elsewhere, and has received residency invitations from the Wellstone Center and Ragdale. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles and is currently at work on a novel.

5 responses to “Iris Smyles: The TNB Self-Interview”

  1. Sammy says:

    I agree that sharpening my pencils is what I hate most about writing, personally I have invested in a small electric pencil sharpener

  2. Matt says:

    Lots of pencils in this interview. 🙂

  3. Nick Amanda says:

    Love this post and @ Sammy vs @ Matt

  4. Maggie says:

    Haha this interview is short but funny. Always keep your pencils sharp friends!

  5. What’s up, its good post about media print, we all be familiar with
    media is a wonderful source of data.

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