Melissa Febos is the author of the essay collection Girlhood (Bloomsbury). It is a national bestseller.

 

Her other books include the critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press 2010), and the essay collection, Abandon Me (Bloomsbury 2017), which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, an Indie Next Pick, and was widely named a Best Book of 2017. A craft book, Body Work, will be published by Catapult in March 2022.

The inaugural winner of the Jeanne Córdova Nonfiction Award from LAMBDA Literary, her work has appeared in publications including The Paris Review, The Sun, The Kenyon Review, Tin House, Granta, The Believer, McSweeney’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Elle, and Vogue. Her essays have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, The Sewanee Review, and The Center for Women Writers at Salem College. She is a four-time MacDowell fellow and has also received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation, The BAU Institute at The Camargo Foundation, The Ragdale Foundation, and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, which named her the 2018 recipient of the Sarah Verdone Writing Award.

She co-curated the Mixer Reading and Music Series in Manhattan for ten years and served on the Board of Directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts for five. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is an associate professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program.

***

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. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

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Sam Tallent is the guest. His debut novel, Running the Lightis available on Too Big To Fail Press.

 

Known for whip-quick wit and rollicking improvisations, Tallent is one of the sharpest, most original rising talents in comedy today. For the last 10 years, he has performed at least 45 weekends annually across America, Canada and France. Called “the absurd voice of a surreal generation” by the Denver Post, Sam is beloved by fans of contemporary comedy. He was a New Face at the 2019 Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, he won his battle on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, hosted the Denver episode of VICELAND’s Flophouse and appeared on the Chris Gerhard Show to impress a girl. His critically acclaimed debut novel Running the Light— heralded as the “definitive novel about stand up comedy” (Marc Maron, WTF) — was published in 2020 and his short fiction has been published on VICE.com and in BIRDY magazine. He lives in Colorado with his wife and his dog.

***

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. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

Instagram

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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.

Courtney Zoffness is the author of Spilt Milk, a collection of memoirs available from McSweeney’s. It is the official May pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Zoffness writes fiction and nonfiction. She won the 2018 Sunday Times Short Story Award, the most valuable international prize for short fiction, amid entries from 38 countries. Other honors include an Emerging Writers Fellowship from the Center for Fiction, the Arts & Letters Creative Nonfiction Prize, and two residency fellowships from MacDowell. Her writing has appeared in various outlets, including the Paris Review Daily, the New York Times, The Southern Review, Guernica, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and she had “notable” essays in Best American Essays 2018 & 2019.

Zoffness holds graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Arizona, and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She directs the Creative Writing Program at Drew University and is a faculty member at Writing Workshops in Greece. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, 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. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

@otherppl

Instagram

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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.

Elissa Washuta is the author of the essay collection White Magicnow available from Tin House.

 

Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. Her other books are My Body Is a Book of Rules and Starvation Mode, and with Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, Artist Trust, 4Culture, and Potlatch Fund. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University.

***

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. Life. Death. Etc.

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.

This conversation first aired on June 17, 2015.

 

It is being reposted in memory of Shanna Mahin, who died last week. She had been battling a particularly difficult case of Covid-19 this past year. The cause of death was suicide.

Shanna’s debut novel, Oh! You Pretty Things is available from Dutton.

Heartfelt condolences to all of Shanna’s family and friends. She will be missed.

 

The panic entered its crescendo the moment Therapist materialized on the screen. Sarah said a phone call would suit the conversation best and I said yes, that’s why I’ve been calling. Conflict, huge or puny, needs to be resolved quick–even at the  other party’s expense. I dislike the small cruelties I do when I’m not understood. Shy texted an axolotl and said she’d been meaning to call. Sarah understood “you don’t have to” as “do not” when I said “you don’t have to” as in “you don’t have to call although it’d mean the world if you did.” I sent Shy a string of  voice messages to demonstrate we weren’t having the conversation she thought we were having. I felt no coldness against my tooth, no electricity inside it, so I must get a second root canal before my cheek bulges with more pus. I messaged Jackie on Facebook: 

yo i cracked code of why so many of my friend being weird and cold 

it’s so simple it is dumb 

i need to express: “you hurt me. but not through anything actively malicious on your part. don’t hold any animosity toward you. it will take me some time to heal and regain trust but you are my friend and i am yours and i love you and things are normal.” 

And people don’t listen why i try to communicate that. there’s a talking over, cutting off, defensiveness

which frustrates me but my frustration isn’t directed towards them but rather just the situation of not being able  to make myself heard 

which ends up just reinforcing each party’s false  

perceptions 

(my friends are being neglectful and careless / steven is irrationally upset with me for something i have no control  over) 

when neither is the actual case 

but they become the case because i can’t express that they aren’t 

Gina Nutt is the author of the essay collection Night Rooms, available now from Two Dollar Radio.

 

Nutt’s other books include the poetry collection Wilderness Champion and two chapbooks—Here Is My Adventure I Call it Alone and Ars Herzogica (dancing girl press). Her writing has appeared in online and print journals, including Cosmonauts Avenue, Joyland, Ninth Letter, and Salt Hill. Poems have appeared on Verse Daily and in the Best of the Net Anthology. She graduated from Syracuse University’s MFA program in Creative Writing and 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. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

otherppl.com

@otherppl

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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.

 

I have never read Andre Dubus III, but I did once sit next to him on a bench on Remsen Street in Brooklyn. Understand that I have nothing against Andre Dubus III, nor am I uninterested in Andre Dubus III’s books. I am even relatively sure that, were I to read a book by Andre Dubus III, I would enjoy it. I bet there’s good stuff in there. But there is a lot to read that isn’t Andre Dubus III; I am sure even Andre Dubus III would understand that and, by the way, I did not know the man I was sitting next to was Andre Dubus III at the time. I did know he was someone. Some people—people, for instance, like Andre Dubus III—have this kind of distinguished look. I was on that bench waiting for my partner to bring me a cup of coffee that neither of us would have had to pay for, which was in a room that I did not have access to but that my partner did, because she was important and I was not. The man sitting next to me, who again I did not know was Andre Dubus III, was drinking this very coffee, but I didn’t know that either. When my partner arrived with the coffee, however, I saw it was the same brown and white paper cup that held Andre Dubus III’s coffee, and I also noticed that my partner smiled professionally at Andre Dubus III and that Andre Dubus III smiled professionally back in recognition, and so I realized definitively, though not exactly, that the man seated next to me on this bench was important, and that we were drinking the same important coffee. Andre Dubus III made room for my partner on the bench, but she did have to get back to the important room to do important things with important people: important people who had, like Andre Dubus III, received or been nominated for major literary accolades, held prominent staff positions at important writing programs, and even had their work adapted for the big screen, as with Andre Dubus III’s 1999 novel House of Sand and Fog, which was adapted into a film of the same name in 2003. My partner and I talked somewhat blandly about how our days were going, and I sipped my coffee in a way I hoped sounded appreciative of her time—though the coffee was actually too hot, and, actually, it burned my tongue—while at the same time, now that I was sitting closer to him, I was trying to see what Andre Dubus III was reading, which I remember as being one of his own books, perhaps even 1999’s House of Sand and Fog, which is his second novel, but I think that this is just my memory, because I want to remember that this man was Andre Dubus III through the entire scene of this memory despite this actually being an imposition on the memory because at the time, in the present tense of this memory, I did not know that this man was Andre Dubus III, and it is not as though there was something particularly Andre Dubus III about him in an adjectival sense, though of course he looks like the photo on his books, and I suppose it is possible that the distinctive quality I previously attributed to him was a partial recognition of this fact that I had surely seen Andre Dubus III’s books before in bookstores around Brooklyn, which is where we were. I was so intently focused on staring at the running head of the book that he was reading that I did not realize Andre Dubus III was staring back at me, and then I did not realize he was not staring at me but at my coffee, which was also his coffee, and then, but actually, staring at a bee just then hovering over my coffee, a bee which I did not realize was there until I tried raising my coffee to my lips, which I did mostly for the movement, for something to do with my radically misplaced body, and not because I wanted to burn my tongue again, and anyway I did not complete the movement because of the bee, who had captured Andre Dubus III’s attention. The bee hovered only another moment over the surface of the coffee then dove into it directly and drowned. All three of us—Andre Dubus III, my partner, and I—stared, surprised, at its body floating in my coffee. Andre Dubus III spoke first. He said, “That was weird.” My partner and I agreed, and Andre Dubus III continued: “Absolutely no instinct for self-preservation. I think he wanted to go.” My partner apologized then, because she had to return to the room for important people where someone important needed her, and apologized again because she could not get me another cup of coffee. She left me with Andre Dubus III, whom she waved goodbye to slightly, but who did not look up, busy as he was staring at the bee, in my coffee. “Incredible,” he said. “Absolutely Incredible.” I think part of the reason this event was so incredible to Andre Dubus III was because he was surely someone concerned about the bees, who were at the time dying en masse to the great anxiety of many scientists and bee-lovers. We were all concerned about the bees, and we—Andre Dubus III and I—were concerned together, but I had no more reason to sit on that bench on Remsen Street in Brooklyn, so I got up. I still held the coffee, and Andre Dubus III still stared at it, and I felt like I had to say something so I said instead that I hoped no bees would fly into his own coffee, that no more bees would die so uselessly when we really did need to save the bees. It was only when I checked my phone, blocks away but for some reason still carrying this coffee—still very much concerned about the bee floating dead inside that coffee—did I see that my partner had asked me if I knew who that had been on that bench. That is when I learned what you have known all this time—when, in effect, I catch up to you: holding the coffee with the dead bee in one hand, my phone in the other, reading a text message, actually holding this coffee and this text message out to you. 

Mik Grantham is the author of the debut poetry collection Hardcore, available from Short Flight / Long Drive Books.

Grantham is the founder and co-editor of Disorder Press which she runs with her brother. Her work has appeared in New World WritingHobartMaudlin HouseThe Nervous Breakdown, and Fanzine. She currently lives in New Orleans. Hardcore is her first book.

***

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. Life. Death. Etc.

www.otherppl.com

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.

Patricia Engel is the author of the novel Infinite Country, available from Avid Reader Press. It is the official April pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Engel is the author of The Veins of the Ocean, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, winner of the International Latino Book Award; and Vida, a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway and Young Lions Fiction Awards, New York Times Notable Book, and winner of Colombia’s national book award, the Premio Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her stories appear in The Best American Short StoriesThe Best American Mystery StoriesThe O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. Born to Colombian parents, Patricia teaches creative writing at the University of Miami.

***

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. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

www.otherppl.com

@otherppl

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YouTube

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

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

Andrea Bajani is the author of the novel If You Kept a Record of Sinsavailable from Archipelago Books. It was translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris.

 

Bajani is one of the most respected and award-winning novelists and poets of contemporary Italian literature. He is the author of four novels and two collections of poems. If You Kept a Record of Sins has brought him a great deal of attention. In just a few months, the book won the Super Mondello Prize, the Brancati Prize, the Recanati Prize and the Lo Straniero Prize. His works have been translated into many languages, and published by some of the most prestigious European publishers, such as Gallimard, Siruela, MacLehose, Atheneum, DTV, Humanitas. He now lives in Houston and teaches at Rice University.

***

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. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

www.otherppl.com

@otherppl

Instagram

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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.

Shannon McLeod is the author of the novella Whimsyavailable from Long Day Press.

 

McLeod is also the author of the essay chapbook Pathetic (University of Indianapolis Etchings Press). Her writing has appeared in Tin House Online, Wigleaf, Hobart, Joyland Magazine, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Prairie Schooner, among other publications. She teaches high school English in Virginia.

***

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. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

www.otherppl.com

@otherppl

Instagram

YouTube

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

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

Gina Frangello is the author of the memoir Blow Your House Down, available from Counterpoint Press.

This is Gina’s second time on the program. She first appeared in Episode 16 on November 9, 2011.

Frangello’s other books include Every Kind of WantingA Life in MenSlut Lullabies, and My Sister’s Continent. Her short fiction, essays, book reviews, and journalism have been published in PloughsharesThe Boston GlobeChicago TribuneHuffPostFenceFive ChaptersPrairie SchoonerChicago Reader, and many other publications. She lives with her family in the Chicago area.

***

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. Life. Death. Etc.

Support the show on Patreon

Merch

www.otherppl.com

@otherppl

Instagram

YouTube

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

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

This episode first aired on March 27, 2013.

 

It is being reposted in memory of Giancarlo DiTrapano (1974-2021), founder and publisher of Tyrant Books. He died unexpectedly on March 30 in New York City. No official cause of death has been reported as of yet.

I didn’t know Gian well, but I did know him a bit. He was always kind, always memorable. One of the few true originals out there, and certainly an original in the world of publishing. He did very good work and helped shepherd the publication of books that will far outlive him. He made a positive difference in the world.

My heartfelt condolences to his friends and family. He will be greatly missed.

-BL