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Lan Samantha Chang is the author of the novel The Family Chao, available from W.W. Norton & Co. It is the official February pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Chang’s other books include the story collection Hunger and the novels Inheritance and All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost. A recent Berlin Prize Fellow, she also has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Chang is the first Asian American and the first female director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Iowa City.

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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.

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Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Nick Flynn. His new memoir, This is the Night Our House Will Catch Fire, is available from W.W. Norton & Co. It is the official August pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Flynn is the author of three previous memoirs, including the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award–winning Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, and four volumes of poetry. A professor on the creative writing faculty at the University of Houston, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Pam Houston. Her new essay collection, Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country, is available from W.W. Norton & Co.

 

Houston’s other books include two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Sarah McColl. Her debut memoir, Joy Enough, is available from Liveright Publishing.

 

McColl’s essays have appeared in Paris Review, McSweeney’s, StoryQuarterly, and elsewhere. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, where she was named the 2017 Mary Carswell Fellow, the Millay Colony for the Arts, Ucross Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Wrangell Mountains Center.

She teaches creative writing and is based in Los Angeles, California.

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I first heard Emily Mitchell read over a year ago at a reading series I host in Baltimore. I have a bit of a crush on female writers who explore literary oddity with sci-fi strains (although I have had a hard time defining exactly what that means—I’m thinking a mix of Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson, Ursula Le Guin, and Shirley Jackson), and I was excited to host an author from just a few miles down the road, teaEmily-Mitchell_0035-3297705591-O-199x300ching at University of Maryland, who was exploring similar themes in her work.

She read a story from a forthcoming collection of short stories about a newly divorced mother who takes her daughter to a store to pick out a Companion, a robotic pet designed to help children cope with challenges and build confidence and empathy. Only the divorcee is surprised that, of all the animals her daughter could get, she chooses a spider.