Jung Yun is the guest. Her debut novel, Shelter, is now available from Picador.
Jung's novel has gotten an incredibly warm critical reception. Not surprisingly, it took years to write, the gestation was arduous, the psycho-spiritual agony along the way was often intense. This, I'm finding, is what's called "the creative process." This is what I'm learning as I do this show and have these conversations. This particular conversation I remember fondly for a variety of reasons, not least of which being that Jung is a first-generation Korean American from Fargo, North Dakota whose father is a world-renowned martial arts instructor. We had fun.
In today's monologue, I read some tweets from my @BradListi twitter account. Lucky you.
Nayomi Munaweera is the guest. Her new novel, What Lies Between Us, is available now from St. Martin's Press.
And here it should be mentioned that Nayomi's debut novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, was long-listed for the Man Asia Prize. The story of that book—its arduous, unconventional road to publication and eventual glory—should be heartening to anyone out there slaving away in obscurity. Nayomi was a lot of fun. She's originally from Sri Lanka but immigrated to the States as a child by way of Nigeria. Pretty sure she's the first Sri Lankan-American author to appear on this program. Happy to share this episode with you guys.
In today's monologue, I field questions from Twitter followers.
This is Dana's second appearance on the podcast. (Her first appearance, Episode 31, can be heard via Otherppl Premium.) I spoke with her by phone. She was at home in Syracuse, New York. We talked a lot about movies, which feature prominently in her fiction and especially in Innocents. And towards the end of our conversation, we discussed her writing process—how it tends to take her five years to write a novel, how she drafts, how she edits, and so on. It's illuminating. And that's really a good word for Dana Spiotta, as both a person and a writer. She's illuminating.
There isn't much of a monologue today—I just get right to the main event—but for those of you who can't live without my rambling, I talk a bit at the end of the show.
Kirstin Valdez Quade is the guest. Her debut story collection, Night at the Fiestas, is now available in paperback from W.W. Norton & Company.
I first met Kirstin on April 1, 2016, at the Ace Hotel Theater in downtown Los Angeles. We were standing side-by-side in the wings, just as she was being introduced at Literary Death Match. She went to walk out onstage, and as she did I turned to her and said, in a deadpan/jokey way, "Don't fuck this up." She smiled, but only kind of (to be fair, it was dark, and things were happening fast), and then almost immediately I began to question my judgment, wondering if the joke had been ill-advised. The good news is, Kirstin didn't hold it against me. In fact, she barely remembered it.
In today's monologue, I talk about mediocrity and Hollywood and delusions of grandeur.