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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Abbigail Nguyen Rosewood is the author of the novel Constellations of Eve, available from DVAN/UTTP. It is the official June pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Rosewood was born in Vietnam, where she lived until the age of twelve. Her debut novel, If I Had Two Lives, has been hailed as “a tale of staggering artistry” by the Los Angeles Review of Books and “a lyrical, exquisitely written novel” by the New York Journal of BooksThe New Yorker called it “a dangerous fantasy world” that “double haunts the novel.” Her short fiction and essays can be found at Electric LitLitHubCatapultThe Southampton ReviewThe Brooklyn ReviewColumbia Journal, and The Adroit Journal, among others. In 2019, her hybrid writing was featured in a multimedia art and poetry exhibit at Eccles Gallery. Her fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best American Short Story 2020. She is the founder of Neon Door, a forthcoming immersive literary exhibit.

***

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 day before I left for camp, my therapist asked me—point-blank—if, given the chance, I would have sex before marriage. Just like that. I wanted to be offended at the given the chance part, but truth was she was the only person who knew—or to whom I would ever admit—that I hadn’t even kissed a girl. And here she was asking about sex. 

I slouched into the overstuffed chair, thought about it. Thought about God—what it would mean if he existed and I did it, or if he existed and I didn’t, or if he didn’t exist at all. I thought about his judgment and I thought about Erika naked. I thought about the way she bent over, not with her ass but her knees, daintily, the way she seemed to float when she went down to pick up a pencil or a rock or a soccer ball. I thought about the way she moved—with grace—and I wondered if God had any left for me.

I don’t know, I answered. Maybe.

Erika was from Santa Rosa. We went to camp together. Week five every year. Before that, it was week three. She with her church. Me with mine. It really was remarkable the way we found each other year after year, especially considering there were six weeks of camp, six opportunities to get the dates wrong and miss out. Maybe our connection had something to do with God, if you believe in that sort of thing.

You’d think someone like me who went to camp each year would be a bit more devout, but I wasn’t too sure about any of it. There was always this moment, usually the last day of camp, when everyone gathered underneath the redwood canopy or by the creek with the Coho salmon or up at the hill by the old wooden cross, this moment where I absolutely did believe in God, but then something would happen a week later to undercut all that, and I’d be left questioning all over again.

The only certainty was Erika. Over the years, she went from being that tall girl with the pink barrettes to the girl who draws with me during free time to my camp-best-friend. Then around freshman year, her body suddenly changed in a way I didn’t understand but made me uncomfortable, and we stopped talking, until, finally, last year, we were friends again. A relationship blossoming one week at a time. One year at a time. 

We shared secrets. Big ones. I told her about my panic attacks and how I was wrongly placed on a 72-hour suicide watch even though I never thought of killing myself, and she said you better fucking not all angry, and I felt loved. That same summer, she told me when she was at the mall, she saw her mom kissing someone other than her dad. Then last year when we started talking again, she said her parents were separating.

Hernan Diaz is the author of the novel Trustavailable from Riverhead.

 

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award, Diaz’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He has published stories and essays in The Paris Review, Granta, Playboy, The Yale Review, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere.

His first novel, In the Distance, was the winner of the Saroyan International Prize, the Cabell Award, the Prix Page America, and the New American Voices Award, among other distinctions. It was also a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book of the Year and one of Lit Hub’s 20 Best Novels of the Decade.

He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Ingmar Bergman Estate.

He holds a PhD from NYU, edits an academic journal at Columbia University, and is also the author of Borges, between History and Eternity.

* * *

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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Kathryn Miles is the author of Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders (Algonquin Books).

 

Miles is the author of five booksHer essays and articles have appeared in publications such as AudubonBest American EssaysBest American Sports Writing, the Boston Globe, the New York TimesOutsidePolitico, and Time. A contributing editor at Down East magazine, Miles also serves as a scholar-in-residence for the Maine Humanities Council and as a faculty member in several MFA programs. Her website is www.kathrynmiles.net.

***

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

@otherppl

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