Granta Best Of Young American Novelists 2017



these five writers here tonight are testament to the fact that we are in a deeply dynamic fertile moment for fiction in this country apparently there's a lot to write about you know this summer politics and prose we are looking forward to hosting so many amazing fiction writers including previous Granta honorees male Malloy and Jonathan Safran for also Yuri Herrera Nick Laird Katherine Heine Jessi Chafee and Tom protégés to name a few please check out our website for more information so when I was growing out my mother had a copy of the second best of young British novelists on her bookshelf and I was completely fascinated with it like within these pages were the best words in existence in that year 1993 I don't think I ever even read it I was so freaked out by it these writers they were like anointed will self Jeanette Winterson kazuya guru this special legacy of granted duration continues to today in 2017 the newest roster of writers is a deeply diverse group selected by a jury including Ben Marcus Kelly link and Holmes and Patrick to it and the most women are actually ever representative twelve women to nine men – that was notable tonight we have here with us five of the honorees Jessie balls creates across many mediums including poetry and illustrations his acclaimed novels include somedy the deafness a cure for suicide how to set a fire and why and silence once begun mark Dayton is the author of the novel the infernal he teaches at Columbia University and also works as fiction editor at the amazing Soho Press Rachel B Glaser is the author of the novel Paulina and Fran the story collection beyond water and the poetry books moods and hairdo and the recipients of the McSweeney's Amanda Davis high wire fiction award Katherine Lacey is the author of the novel nobody is ever missing which won the 2016 whiting award her very newest novel the answers will be published by FSG in just a couple weeks but thanks their huge kindness we actually early released copies here tonight there the only ones in existence so snatch them up sunny across Acuff is the author of the novel the Patriots and her short story collection one more year when the five under five awards from the National Book Foundation the authors are all going to read to us before we begin a conversation so begin with Jesse ball please welcome him hello everyone is this bad enough is so I'm in a bit of a puzzle because the story doesn't really make very much sense unless you read the entirety of it and that's not really possible so maybe I'll talk a little bit about it and then read just a couple paragraphs to give you a feel for the prose so the story is about a boy a young boy who loves beavers and goes to a zoo there he beholds the beavers and at some point the beavers escaped from the zoo and ripped him apart and underneath him there's a beaver in fact he's been a beaver all along potentially that might be one interpretation so a bit of it here the beavers have described it's very ratty ratty zoo there were four beavers in the pathetic little river that lay behind the plate-glass window one he called Ganser one he called stipend one mallet one Ganther he called two of them Ganther because he hadn't yet decided which was which and he thought it was more accurate that way still he knew one Ganther was female he just couldn't say how it worked and the beavers moved so unpredictably it wasn't easy to learn the beavers were known as being something like fish but also they could cut down trees he liked that unfortunately in the place beyond the glass there were only things that looked like trees but no real trees the things that looked like trees had been made to appear to have been cut in half by the Beavers but he knew they hadn't done it as a soft to the beaver small pieces of wood were brought to them in a cart and stoy bin' would rummage there all day but could never discover what to do beyond that the other beavers had no interest mallet was quick and her nose was cleaner than the others that was how he knew her there was a point by the glass that she would approach but none of the others would that was another sign Ganther maybe kicked with his feet lost swimming a bit more than seemed necessary strivin rummaged that was the Beavers in their ways the nurse stood heavily breathed heavily before the glass her heart was beating and she always felt it with someone else's that was an illness people died from once the sensation that your heart was someone else's in the terror of having a beat near you a heart that is overseen like that starts to flutter and soon enough it stops like a fish in a drive pail smashing it silhouett losing its nature he said look Ganther is coming out of the dam look but the nurse wouldn't look Ganther wants to get to the other side because he likes it there better now there's Ganther on the other side and also over there and they want to be together so they meet in the middle this was another reason they were both Ganther they kept meeting in the middle who knew why store even had something wrong with his head and when he would rummage he would sometimes stop and press his head against some sharp part of the wood as if he was trying to discover what had happened however long ago it had happened he was still trying to find it out it didn't look good for him sometimes the Beavers would come up and line up near the glass now slit in front in her spot either Ganther anywhere behind her and stoy been off to one side kind of crouched they would stand there and stare out and then it wasn't clear whose side of the glass was who's the nurse hated it perhaps that's enough for today thank you all right I'm gonna do podium so you guys doing anyone else – in podium ok it's great to be here politics and prose is one of the great bookstores in the country and it's such an honor to be here with my fellow readers I am going to read so the piece that was in grant is the first chapter of my next novel Trump's Chi Alpha and I'm going to read the first page in the last page and I've read it a few times for granted events and it's seem to be losing energy so I'm going to try it in a new voice tonight for the first time in news on the March voice so I don't know if that'll work or not but that's what you guys get Trump's Chi Alpha the rigid airship that ducked on the roof of the White House in the roof of Trump Tower 8,000 foot vessels from the bridge of which Trump delivered streaming YouTube address addresses every Wednesday DC to New York and every Sunday New York to DC the ultra-luxury Zeppelin Crystal Palace of the sky on which the 224 seats luxury birds in an open low style went for a starting price of 50,000 dollars a figure the jump with the addition of various ultra deluxe packages and enhancements diamond and diamond troika elite tiers four figures for the ten star double platinum seafood certified eight pound lobsters with Trump embossed on tail and right claw wine pairings offered by the animated founding foodie Ben Franklin on touchscreen Franklin adjusting spectacle spectacles and cataloguing Trump flights of Trump wine and exquisite taste of Trump the food is chemin A and the Blanc de Blanc de la pluie Blanc the final bill after disembarkment running to 20 pages or more of often obscure fees and surcharges bag fees and negative weather clemency credits and peruse charges on the ergonomic loge controls every seat adjustment noted by the system and itemize the seats arranged in an oblong spiral that loop the transparent floor six times the entire body of the aircraft constructed from a revolutionary transparent membrane stretched over a skeleton of Mothe white aluminum then that sentence goes on for four or five more pages and a little later there's a global nuclear crisis that threatens to break out and in the last page of the story or this chapter Trump responds and right there he authorised it there aboard Trump's Chi Alpha on the YouTube livestream he authorized the big one the biggest possible response lobsters in Bermuda and Turkey and Paris raising branded claws and silent salute as the flames engulfed them the last remaining cameras going dark helicopters and fighter jets Criss crossing the airspace around and in front of trumps sky alpha US President Donald J Trump floating at the center of it all he pressed the automated descent button and the livestream cut out for a final pitch for boutique shopping experiences Ivanka on video offering bangles and Donald J Trump's signature neckwear and vacation ownership opportunities and then back to Trump full frame at the wheel of trumps sky alpha another thumbs up to the YouTube livestream audience to all those watching those who still had internet those still alive and in the Situation Room I'm in between all the generals and the members of the deep state and even now Trump's private security apparatus a certain humming awareness a panic that they were watching just watching the world end and wasn't there something they could do but there were too many too many different strategies they were each locked into their own roles and Trump had already announced it the big option right there on the live stream to the whole world to all our allies and enemies and around the world protocols and contingency plans were going into effect there just wasn't any time just no way to wiggle out of the moment to say sorry to say stop to say we up nothing to be done or rather they could do the big one or just nothing sit passively hemmed in by life and by all the possibilities they couldn't quite dream into the real and they understood that to play was to lose but not to play was no real option and so it was the football it was the gold codes it was all initiated it would start very soon it was all just minutes away the big event the one we'd been waiting for for the better part of a century the button got pushed it was easy sure it really was now that it had happened and across the Midwest and elsewhere the missiles took to the sky as president Trump landed softly on the roof of Trump Tower not listening for but hearing nonetheless somewhere far below st. and inescapable as his own heartbeat the oceanic roar of protesters flooding the streets of Manhattan [Applause] I like it better in that boys really exciting I'm going to read the first part of the story in granteth de for Loretta dug through dusty boxes until she found the yellow sweatshirt with the faded image of a moose on skis it still fits she squeezed into a pair of old leggings and heard the elastic give out she went through the boxes remembering each thing where she'd gotten it and what it had meant until this became torturous and she lay on the floor wanting to die if the funeral hadn't made her cry and sleeping in this house did it make her cry then it was settled she was not human she got up and dumped all the boxes into trash bags she had until midnight to clear everything out if she worked hard all day she could do it she'd have to fill up the small rental car and make multiple trips to the Salvation Army or the dump her some abandoned place where no one would see what she left again she tried to walk into her mother's room but it was too terrible it smelled like a bog the cat was hiding in there somewhere Loretta knew she left the door open and dragged the bags down the creaky stairs she drank from the kitchen faucet there was no food in the house and she decided she wasn't hungry she lugged the bags out the front door was much too hot to be dressed the way she was she threw the bags into the trash bin and wheeled it to the curb across the street 2 boys punched each other the younger one was crying neither was wearing a shirt maybe they could help her load up the car if she made it seem like a game hey she yelled she hadn't said anything for days the older one looked at her and disgust as if he knew how she had been living Loretta gave them the finger The Crying one stopped crying he had green and purple magic marker scribbled on his chest got a cigarette the older one yelled he had to have been about 11 she thought sizing up his untied Nikes and the thin gold chain around his neck she crossed the street without thinking I used to babysit you she lied you don't look familiar the kid said you were too young to remember he was just a baby she pointed to the younger one who was jamming a twig into a gummy bear in the grass you didn't smoke back then loretta told the kid and you had this little dolly named popcorn now that she was talking she couldn't shut up I didn't have any doll the kid said it had these ears she said putting her hands to her head a curtain shook in the window of her mother's apartment the cat pressed its face against the glass can you drive us somewhere the younger one asked squinting he was sort of adorable it looked like you could tell him anything and he'd believe you the kids sat in the passenger seat how old are you he asked thirty-six you married he asked dubiously Loretta glanced at the younger one and back absent-mindedly rolling his window up and down people don't get married anymore she said the kid leaned his head against his seatbelt turn here she could tell he didn't know where they were he nodded staring at her sweatshirt the Moose lianas back in a puff paint snowdrift it's four pink skis tangled in the air stop blood he asked pointing to a stain on her sleeve old blood she said I'm hungry said the younger one she pulled the white Nissan into a narrow spot between two black cars the boys are out before she turned off the engine she opened the trunk and dug around for her wallet the boys ran to the pinball machine at the back of Sal's Loretta watched them gleefully pound away at the buttons the floor had been retired but she was relieved to find the ugly mural still alive though parts had been retouched Loretta could see the ghosts of old graffiti under the phony Sicilian sunset she ordered a pizza two sodas in a beer from a teenager slouched behind the register she felt a thrill that she still didn't know the boys names Loretta Giovanni called from the walk-in he put down a sack of something and jogged towards her its Gio his white t-shirt was splattered with sauce and tucked into black sweatpants he wear socks and flip-flops and a gold cross in his ear Giovanni he said you know pavani his face had grown puffy he hadn't been particularly interesting in high school kind of nice but his friends had been jerks Geo's shifted his weight back in the day he had worn silk shirts and black jeans he'd had a ponytail Loretta remember dissecting the fetal pigs how some of the boys had gotten too into it and how some of the girls had refused to even watch I heard about what happened Gio said Loretta's face burned the town was too small she looked down and stared into her wallet please lor it's on the house the teenager closed the register how long you been back Gio asked it wasn't that she died people died every day it was how she died and that everyone knew more people came to the funeral than should have people she hadn't seen in decades people she wasn't close to they whispered during it they wanted to see but there wasn't anything left you could put in a casket Loretta turned slowly then walked outside she sat sweating on the curb as her mother's narrow face hovered over the parking lot like a hologram its pearly eyes bore down on her he was sucking up all her power Loretta get got quickly up and felt woozy she staggered into her car and started the engine she couldn't catch her breath the song on the radio was an old one she knew she turned it way up as she pulled away from the curb she could see the boys running to the door she felt like a claw rising out of the earth she sped off I'm going to stop it there hi everyone can you hear me okay thank you for coming out I'm going to read a short scene from the new novel it's all about conspiracy theories in fake news which is odd because when I wrote the scene fake news wasn't really a term and I guess the Russians are ahead of us in that department so it'll help could be helpful when you listen to it to imagine me as a 60-year old man the narrator of the scene is a man named Julian brink he's an immigrant like me but he he came in his 30s but not even you know he's 60 and he's traveling to Moscow because he's working for an oil company in American oil company that's doing Arctic drilling as a joint venture with a Russian state-sponsored oil company basically lube oil and right and so he's at his first business banquet with his like Russian partners and the Russian boss is this guy named couple of court when couple of means means boot in Russian so his nickname is the boot okay now the Kubla Cove and I have done the ritual flogging of each other with birch twigs he treats me as affectionately as a brother has Vanya reference in case you're confused how have you been he says at the banquet table and pour the meat thirty grams into my shot glass right up to the top very fine environment village in you I'd be better off without those two buzzing in my ear and how was your lovely lady friend I asked him al what's her name the last time I saw cop look over in Helsinki he showed up with some blonde in boots you would have thought he had brought her along to show her off except he did nothing but complain about her the entire time this heifer won't leave me alone until I buy her two suitcases of fur like we don't have our own fern Russia where the hell does she think the Finns get theirs my wife's got a rule he tells me now she doesn't care who the heifer is as long as I drop her after three months and every three months a new heifer I say no I didn't say that you have to listen three months is the limit I can see it's important to Cub Lacombe that I understand this rule properly he's a family man after all anyway he says they're more interesting things in life and what has the boot discovered to be more interesting than heifers horses he tells me you erase them what no I breed the they can't do it alone I can tell you're joking bring but this is a serious business the cardinal rule of horse breeding is no artificial insemination otherwise your horse can get a passport every Sheikh and the Saudi royals slides his mares to my boy so he kind of private jet so he can give him a proper he's too valuable to race the Arabs are nuts about their horses it's part of their heritage Arabian Nights and all that Kabakov drops his voice to a murmur I keep him in a secret stable see not here in Russia I'm no idiot here he'd be assassinated on the spot no he's safe in England only two people know where that stable is me and the stable keeper for a moment public OVAs identification with his thoroughbred seems so complete the thrill of his libertine existence the risk of his assassination that I wonder if it's not himself he's talking about but even as I'm giving my full attention to the boot it's difficult to ignore the laughter coming from the other end of the table where his deputy mook of our serial Joker has started telling a story about the new set of snapshots that have turned up in Abu Ghraib but really why all the hysterics and runny noses over a few photos mom says we can get some good shots like that from our Chechen brothers in Sherman or Kosovo the point is the scandal what is it really about a myth but you'll American soldiers fight with white gloves on he looks straight at me and I prepare my face for what's to come your military sadistic brigand no better than our spits moans your democracia imitation cheese democracy to progression and your supposedly free press oh let's not even start a match charade well guess what he says right on cue it turns out everyone is exactly the same only our State Department doesn't bother with the pretense of an annual report and here we are again dragged by the right of alcohol into that vast epistemic gulf where every lunatic proposition is self-evident while universal truths are hauled in for questioning a logic free zone rather than more than once cornered into admitting the Roosevelt did have advanced knowledge of Pearl Harbor or challenged to prove that smoking really causes cancer don't forget to mention how Neil Armstrong never set foot on the moon I suggest even though I vow to stay silent this time it was all a hoax pulled off in some Hollywood studio he gives me a sidelong look trying to gauge my sincerity but it's another landing that's of interest to him the moon I don't know about what I'd rather find out is what happened to the other planes which planes with those being come on now the 9/11 planes there were seven of them my trade looks with my partners I never heard of any seven Wow mocha looks around the table they really don't report anything to you people over there do they and what's your theory who's talking about theories you're an intelligent person I'm only saying look at her benefits and according to that logic it was the Kremlin that bond those apartment buildings and blamed it on the Chechen soup it ran through your troops across our debt on zone of empty shot glasses and platters my boss senses just enough explosive potential that his arm begins to rise in a defusing toast but he has no chance to make one because Mukul is beaming not in fury but without with jubilation yes my villa he shows of course we did it he reaches out his arms as though to give my stubborn head a kiss his face shining with the satisfied glow of a man who's guiding this point across at last thank you I'm just going to read from here am I too loud like this should be further away from me gosh it's revealed I just don't know what the alphabet is actually it's an alphabetical order here we are I'd run out of options that's how these things usually happen how a person ends up placing all her last hopes on a stranger hoping that whatever that stranger might do to her would be the thing she needed done to her for so long I had been a person who needed other people to do things to me and for so long no one had done the right thing to me but already I'm getting ahead of myself that's one of my problems I'm told getting ahead of myself so I've been trying to find a way to get behind myself to be slow and quiet with myself like Edie used to be but of course I can't quite make it work can't be exactly who what Edie was to me there are some things that only other people can do to you NUMA adaptive kinesthesia packing what Edie does to people requires one person to know and another person me in this case to lie there not knowing in fact I still do not know what numa adaptive kinesthesia really is just that it made me or seem to have made me well again during our sessions ads sometimes hovered his hands over my body chanting or humming or silent while he supposedly moved or rearranged or healed invisible parts of me he put stones and crystals and my face my legs sometimes pressing or twisting some part of my body and painfully pleasurable ways and though I didn't understand how any of this could remove the various sicknesses from my body I couldn't argue with relief I spent a year of suffering from undiagnosable illnesses and almost every part of me but after only one session with Edie just 90 minutes during which she barely touched me I could almost forget I was a body such a luxury it was to not be overwhelmed by decay Chandra has suggested packing called it things way for the energetic body for guerrilla warfare against negative vibes and though I was sometimes skeptical of Chandra's talk of vibes this time I had to believe her I'd been ill for so long but I'd almost lost the belief that I could be well again and I was afraid of what might replace that belief if it disappeared completely technically Chandra explained packing as a form of neurophysiology a relatively obscure technique either on the outside either on the outskirts of the forefront or the outskirts of the outskirts depending on who you ask the problem was as always and invisible ones the problem was money I needed a minimum of 35 packing sessions at 225 dollars each to complete a packing series which meant a complete treatment would cost me the same as a half year's rent on that poorly Lydon irregularly shaped one-bedroom I'd had for many years not because it suited me I'd tested it but because everyone said it was a steal too good to let go and even though my paycheck from the travel agency was decent the monthly credit card minimum student loan payments and last year's onslaught of medical bills we're all reducing my bank account to sensor negatives each month while the debt always seemed to grow one dire morning starving and cashless I ate the last of my pantry for breakfast slightly expired anchovies mixed into a tiny can of tomato paste and I often Hari Krishna's for dinner leaving my shoes and dignity at the door to praise Krishna the God as far as I could tell of cafeteria grade vegetarian fare and manic chanting by the fourth or fifth love feast white white to laka greased on my brow pasta wiggling around the metal plate as if independently intimate I knew that the boundless love of Krishna would never be enough for me no matter how hungry or broke or confused I became it was only a few days later that answering the ad for an income-generating experience tacked to a bulletin board at a health food store seemed like my only real option but somehow giving away the dregs of my life might be the best way to get a real one back I'll just stop there okay my first question I know this is a serious event and the serious writers but I have my entertainment tonight Academy Award question which is how did you find out where do you have any warning where were you was it an email was it a call did you fall to the ground screaming relief what was your first reaction when you found out and how did you find out about being included in this collection I think my first dress was very guessing school so the writers my beings have been reading so many of these people work for so many years and life is just I think the biggest anticipation Ozzy was just getting to know that the writers because we didn't know until it was publicly announced oh that's exciting so you were waiting for the same April kind of reveal as as we were here anyone else does anyone else have any kind of like exciting discovery stories mark your heads coming up oh I don't know I just got an email from my agent yeah yeah okay yeah I was just watching around Union Square in New York I think I was out to get lunch or come back from lunch and I had this email from my agent and it was yeah it's pretty crazy yeah because like I had known in the back of my think we all knew that we were like finalists but as a big finalist list big so yeah I was pretty pretty floored and now big December in summer and now that you know was there a sense of there must be joy and gratitude but also is there a sense of pressure that you have this kind of mantle of responsibility to speak for the moment in literature yeah or or are you kind of putting that aside what do you think Kathryn yeah what do you think like that some of the people on the list are going to publish things and in the comments section people are going to be like I can't believe this person is I'm anticipating some of that I don't think there's really I don't feel any way with it it sound like oh I get to keep doing this right like they'll let me do another that's that's my overwhelming reaction is they'll let me do another with the collection I'm really interested in you're all being honored for your work as novelist and yet the representation is of course very short that you the representation of your work how did you determine what you wanted to include with that editor's that Sigrid with that you determine whether because some I think Katherine and mark and Rachel you all had pieces from a novel in and work write a racial as yours a short story right um and Jesse's is a short story in exactly saunas is an essay so how did you determine that that was how you wanted to represent yourself it was very prosaic there the logic actually because I think you know we submitted work we had in progress but so Nigel came now just before this issue so they just and I had had actually a piece of the book within like a week before then I can you like something like new so I wrote an essay in a couple of days and that was that was my story but it was fun actually like kind of flag and Jesse was your story already completed or was it something that you created for this it was already complete bless yeah I guess there are many things it could have been used for it and I thought in a certain sense it doesn't it doesn't matter which thing right you know because I feel like I don't know content of work is often largely arbitrary I think work shows a kind of a philosophy of life so whichever thing I had put in would be the same you would be there right when I first read all five of your stories I tried to do an exercise where I pretended that I was an alien and these were the only five stories that I knew about that American writers were writing right now and I tried to kind of think about what linked them all up and to me for myself what I found in them all was lost a kind of modern loss of health of you know a relationship to nature safety and that was something that really permeated to me and I was wondering what do you think about this and if you if that makes sense to you and also if building on that are there any linkages or themes that you see keep manifesting in kind of your work together I mean I think trying to assess some kind of linkage between all of us is like as if we were all lying in a bed and one of us is trying to make it at the same time kind of hard to have that outside lens on yourself but it's interesting that you stay lost because I just think that loss is probably like in every piece of fiction right it's just the inversion is searching yeah right yeah I mean maybe there's some sort of American flavor of loss that we can't even really you know you are an American I'm pretty sure so it's kind of it's hard for us to say what with what's the connective tissue between us when we are we are the tissue you know oh absolutely I was just wondering if we should probably even like Granta or write exactly like France right or something I was trying to think of an alien I was just wondering if you read through the stories if anything kind of jumped out at you that you saw oh this is so a preoccupation like I'm like I'm kind of thing this is an outsider they say like my writings probably like more on the traditional side of the spectrum because I had a fairly traditional novel but what I really enjoyed about the collection is a reader who was like the amount the number of what you might call expected fiction I don't know I'm it's hard to put labels on things but I think there's a kind of like realism naturalism but also almost like a sci-fi element to some of the just the texture of the prose which one of the things we were reading with mark I saw there was a host speculative fiction shelf which I had never seen before because it was a gaff airlie new category that I was even like introduced to but maybe you guys are going to say like this sounds ridiculous but yeah I felt like I was really pleased with the fact that it was they chose such unconventional like all of experimental pieces and authors which is great you know because it's moving in general there's a lot of commercial pressures on writers today that I said just you know the check such textured prose kind of building on that are there you know sometimes there's a lot of negative news about books or you know about publishing today and saying you know there's a lot of pressure but are there things that you're super excited about in or projects that are coming out and or trends that you see in writing and publishing other things presses or even just trends towards a certain sort of work that are exciting you that are like knocking your socks off I was going to say that Twitter in general how interested I mean yeah along my mind a lot of the different things people are doing on there would you mean like micro fiction or um I think the way it all gets mixed together like the different kinds of art and jokes people are making in the different way the way I learned that something has happened in new their cultures often by seeing like a number of confusing jokes on Twitter so that's been really fun if you find that affects the way that you write fiction yeah I think it's recently I've been thinking about sort of like varied experience like moment to moment and what like a miss mash of stuff it is and there's something about Twitter breaking that down to just the way things look in juxtaposition to each other um so I think I am trying right now to write things that are really really like current and like don't necessarily like go together and Rachel meant Jessie you're on Twitter now as well as that right how is that affecting the way that you write in the way that you communicate with other people well I don't I don't look at it I just send them an app I do drawings on napkins okay I just send a photograph of the drawing vanes to Twitter I don't think I yeah but I think in reference to your question about our joint concern I think the industrialized world drifts in and out of a cloud of safety and sometimes we feel the safety enormous Li usually as some kind of um you know the tale of some drift of wealth and well-being and then other times it's just terror and fear I remember in the in the eighties feeling like an atomic bomb was going to drop any day you know and I think more and more over the last decades it's become clear that the human race is some kind of an illness or a pollution that has overtaken the earth you know and that it's just going to wreck everything it's a kind of destruction and and yet the reflexive nature of consciousness is so beautiful and the to be the one who perceives a rose or whatnot it's glorious so there we are stuck in between these two poles yes yes I totally understand what you're saying I think that just one other thing I want to say was um it's very odd to have a to rank creativity I mean that's a that's a weird kind of concede right a list of the best writers wins you know people are spec well you know grant is secretly ranked uh saw one to twenty one day behind the scenes and they won't show us oh um calling a song emotional yeah oh okay well it could be true you don't know right I mean yeah something true but I just wanted you all to speak to I mean I know that there you know there's so many amazing writers doing things out there and if there was anyone that wasn't on this list that really resonated for you that you wanted to kind of give a shout out to or make sure that our audience also knew about that you thought why isn't I mean they did such a beautiful job the editors and cigarette and just you know collecting people but if there was anyone else that you wanted to kind of advocate for I wish I wish we would have seen patty you mean katrell or is a yummy katrell you can tell me man I know yummy I mean that's kind of reads right yeah that a yummy katrell she just published a book called sorry to disrupt the peace that's very it is I don't know I just had it had its own voice it's bizarre it's kind of related to to fiction that's older and it's just troubled in an interesting way to me there's a writer Mark Ladner who I'm a big fan of he's got a book of poetry that's really funny and exciting and um he his book I understand why he's not in this list at all cuz his fiction hasn't been published yet in book form but later this year his books coming out from tyrant books it's called under the sea and I've read some of the stories and there's a few of them are amazing awesome things I what a book I is it okay if I mention a SOHO press book is wonderful yeah so I work is that my day job as an editor and a book that just came out this year that I love is senora by Hannah Roddy any time and what I find remarkable about it and what I think is more and more interesting and relevant is finding characters who can somehow connect to our you know our current global situation and in this case it's a pair of teenage girls and the main character is like the author has one parent who's Israeli and one parent who's Palestinian American Jews in the Sonoran Desert and there's this amazing kind of humming backdrop of magic and darkness and you know almost magical stuff happening but it's kept very light like the dial on it has turned so light it's not quite like anything else I've read and it's also in six eminent unrest feminine on red book yeah and it's like this supernatural stuff and spacious and yeah and yet it's really just about two young girls in trouble making horrible decisions which is one of my favorite types of books I love that one too Jisoo sana Senora buy didn't Hannah so I know we have copies of this right now I've seen them it's in the store yeah was there anything else just anything else that you wanted to call it that's moving you right now or that you wanted people to know about I think I guess there are some it's a list of novelists but it can also be that one has written short stories or novellas or even nonfiction really to me it's all the same thing but I think the least champions form in the United States is the novella which is actually one of my favorite so if there's a general change that I would like to see in publishing it would just be that there's many more novellas I mean how many novels would you like to have ender earlier many and also it's so widely accepted in like Latin America too and less so here yeah I think the second on those questions like which band II listened to and if you wanna be really cool you have to know know that's like something maybe my father would have heard of someone I'm going to name somebody who haven't been publishing these in the States yet but I think she will be in the year or two so I was just a moderator for this panel of Russian authors and there's this young woman named Deanna Cousteau chenko and speaking of work this field that is entirely realistic and feels like complete science fiction she's in she the journalist for the Novaya Gazeta in Moscow and her stories are like I've never read anyone just writing about Russia like this but she'll have these really post-apocalyptic landscapes and like where women will put their babies in these they're called windows to life they're like glass boxes on the sides of buildings that if you can take and then in 30 seconds the door closes and then you can never open it again and then like the life starts shining inside the building so people come and the neck there's no bodily harm there's like all the histories are raised from and it's all these really weird situations that feel like um one of my favorite writers from way back when is um varlaam salaam oh right and his stories were about like Russia might but they really felt read like science fiction and she sort of like bringing that back so I she's gotten an agent now so I think will be a while and you guys are going to hear a purge is amazing again i krista shampoo awesome thank you I'd like to invite people up to ask questions and while you formulate your questions and the audience mic is right here just we have to do another just really quick going down the line as far as what you're working on now and if the piece in the in the collection that people will be buying if that's something to be expanded or just what you're working on now Kevin that's pretty easy Kevin I've done yeah I mean for sale here curiously it's called the answers it's called the answers I just read the some well is kind of the beginning I skipped the beginning beginning I I don't it's a novel I don't know if you're interested in reading a novel it's one of them this isn't but I just have that as a blurb yeah I'm going to actually follow that it is my master blurb that is what I think an awesome so that's all great about it Rachel what you working on I'm working on a novel unrelated to the story that was in there Catherine did I understand your novel isn't out yet no it's out yet it is it's out of politics in her book store so the only place I only want to learn it you can get this book right now is right here thank you she would be crazy enough they could probably resell them on eBay is like the heart of God yeah always anti-venom you can really can resell these on eBay for a hundred yeah yeah well don't do anything to lower the resale price I am working bets from my next book and it's about the end of the world and internet humor I have a novel coming out next year which is called census and then a few years after that another one that's also finished which is called diverse game and there's some other books that are finished there just waiting logistics if you publish too often it's called Maddox so my recently released novel should be available here it's called the Patriot is indeed great and it's about an American woman who leaves the United States during the Great Depression and immigrants to Russia and then kind of the residents of that choice and her descendants so her like it takes place in 2008 and 1930s and all through the Cold War but it's really exciting there's a lot of plots if you guys love plot come on by and I'll sign it okay do have you questions from the audience anyone doesn't microphone right here I would actually love for you all to talk about plot a bit it can be I found a dirty word with some novelists and some people hang all their work on it I'd love to hear about your relationships to plot my first book had no plot as far as I'm aware or I was told this anyway I thought it I just enough I didn't have any and then them sorry it doesn't lon is that a size a trajectory yeah it happened but maybe not in order there is you know display body intelligent of plot at all but I guess the second one sort of has some plot and then I guess I only think this because my agent said oh my god you wrote a book with plot and I was like is that so so I don't think it's very important at all I think what to me what's more important when I'm reading as a reader I just if I like listening to the voice that's speaking to me then I just continue to read it whether they're kind of fiddling around doing nothing or whether they're like you know chasing the bad guy down the alley it doesn't matter to me as long as the sentences er are interesting when I wrote short stories in the past they were more like situation based and then when I was writing my first novel I began to like sort of buy into some of the stuff about plot that I had sort of ignored just trying to hold people's interests longer and then I started writing screenplays and then I started like really buying into some plot stuff because those green guys will do it yeah yeah and I'm trying to like get people to agree with my screenplay so but then I started writing fiction again and having a lot of fun without plot and then thinking oh now there's no plot but then thinking of a lot of my favorite books which are pretty light on plot so I think style and good sentences and bizarre situations can get you really far without it my my first book and then the one that I'm working on now are both composed of the kind of crazy monologues fragmentary monologues that are quite modular and it's like the way they're arranged in the book can be moved around a lot so I have a little bit of a different relationship to plot then some writers doing that it you know it kind of becomes a question of almost like mathematically what is you know the how do I arrange them in the strongest way and then once that stroggs then how do I sort of weave some of the threads together I would say if you want to plot by Catherine's book two weeks before it's available anywhere else sell it on eBay for $100 you hate yourself like at $75 the wait yeah go back to it so when you're saying modular how what is your writing process for that button do you write some like each dialogue must have something though that you want to achieve in it right something that you want to express how how do you put them all together what is the process of that well I think that emerges from the writing up and yeah and I think that how it ultimately fits in the book emerges from then the process of sort of putting it together and moving it around and I mean I you know I've been talking to my editor of the next book and I think you know some one of the things that he was saying is to suggesting ways to you know bring a little more like bring the sort of threads of unity together bring up some things bring down some things which I'm very sympathetic to and I I like hearing getting that kind of advice it's not because you're an editor yeah I respect the process Beck you're out of it I have a plot that was purchased for me in 1997 by my mother it's in a cemetery in Long Island I don't know if that's exactly where I'm going to end up but I own it at this point at any rate as for literary literary applause I think to a certain extent I guess there's a there's a consensus understanding of sort of a classical arc to a story or to to plot so then any time an element of a story is invoked it seems to leave this trail ahead of itself and then the writer in writing towards that or away from that flirts with that plot and that anticipation creates energy or delight for the reader I think with with my texts usually I have some basic understanding of a structure that I'm going to work with and then I want to be surprised as I write it that the ways in which it departs from that so that's the way that I handle pot but I think in a way it's kind of a farce because like a text it's not in a book that is about a person who starts as school of baking and is you know baking babies into cakes thing it isn't babies are not actually baked into the cakes it's just words on a page you know so I think to a certain extent that tech the book can be about anything really it doesn't need there's no plot is not important provided that the mind of the writer somehow is given as a gift to the reader and then the real underlying thing is just that the reader can encounter the company of another human being said to me plot is sometimes useful but facile so my husband is also a sort of writer he writes podcasts for radio and I think helping him work on podcast has changed the way I think about story I think the reason the plot such a dirty sounding word is that it's still external when you know real story is all about some internal shift of perception kind of when our weather this weather the scale of our perception changes or whether we kind of become into awareness of some misunderstanding of the world or of ourselves so I think maybe like I I I think it's like something happened with me when I was 35 and I just kind of came out of the closet I enjoy structure as a writer I just enjoy doing it but it's not really just hooking the reader just it's about kind of creating attention attention in the prose and there's so many different ways to create it because as just as a reader like I just finished like reread mouth guard which people would say like has no plot but to me it actually has a lot because it has a lot of tension that's replicating the tension of everyday life right so somehow that's being achieved so I don't know I guess it becomes kind of a label what you want to call it but you can you know achieve that tension through kind of giving your reader knit and tells an emotionally intelligent experience through voice or what's through or through story there's just so many ways to do it but to me that's always kind of n to create a sense of tension in the prose so when you changed your when you came out the closet structure lover did that change the way you worked or did you wrote longer because I've been writing because I think I was doing it unconsciously anyway but I mean there were sort of turns in the work whether or not I wanted to but and then but then when I was more aware of what it was I was doing I thought I could have more control over it to outline more do you know how does that actually manifested in day to day be yeah I read I had well I read my hand a lot and like this novel that came out I saw wedding when my son was born and I had to kind of I couldn't sit in the same place all day long so I start writing on index cards and then I would just I would just tape them together to have like I've said something physical like almost like that Carroll racking like a reel of toilet paper sort of and but somehow just having some physical allowed me to like have a more visual relationship to the story right maybe that's what that makes all sense yeah do you have a question there hi so the question is a little self-serving but I'm curious to know how you're all young young writers and at when you first started out I'm curious how did you negotiate how did you negotiate putting yourself out there and you know you always hear you should be expect rejection as a writer you should if you're not getting rejected 90% of the time you're not doing it right is something I've heard or maybe said to myself just but you know how do you negotiate that with actually sort of keeping sort of your belief in yourself or your craft or what you're doing and sort of when do you compromise that with the feedback you're getting out there just curious well I think the putting yourself out there thing is can be really nerve-wracking and stop it stops a person from writing something that's any good because you're thinking about the way that it's going to be perceived before you even finished writing it and I I tended to not want to share things that I was working on for a really long time and then eventually I started to realize that I only would write things that would get accepted anywhere if I was like nervous as hell and I felt like it was too much like I felt like this character is kind of too much and embarrasses me and then once I was writing those characters where I felt like there was something that threatened maybe the good favor that I felt like I had with other people then I then the rejections were were less and then I but then you go through the second thing of like well now it's going to come out and are people going to think are people going to think that you are as crazy as your characters are and yes they will and then also you just have to stop caring and I feel like the less and less I care the better work I can make and so then it's just there's less rejections there's still rejection of all sorts you know my agents and stories that I think oh it's a great story and it's just like no no no no no but I don't care as much because I've kind of gotten through that like initial push of like writing this uncomfortable like tender thing that means so much to me that just putting it out there I'm already like relieved of that tension so I got really into sending out my work um a teacher encouraged me to when I was in undergrad and that helped to start doing it young but I didn't think about it like I wasn't thinking I started thinking about anytime you submit a story or a poem or anything you're getting a reader even if you just get them for a few minds so I was interested that I had strangers reading my new story so that was a useful way to think about and in terms of encouraging yourself I think depends on the writer but I think it's really important and I'll write something and think it's really good and exciting and when I do that now I have to write about how I think it's good and exciting because then when I read it like a few days later I'm not going to feel as good and then when I do the line it it's like two days after that and by the end of the week I'm going to sort of hate it so I think it's good to sort of commemorate your early feelings any anytime you feel like when I read my own work I print out on my drops and I like read it with a pen and it's like if I was reading the work of a friend I underlined the lines I like so anytime I'm having like a positive feeling I like make some mark and I so I think I've just gotten really used to like being a supportive like friend to yourself and like in a notebook like writing down some of the good feelings and then sometimes I'm feeling bad not necessarily writing that down because there's this one time I was rereading a draft of my novel and thinking like huh this is pretty good and then I felt like an earlier note that was like me doubting it and it's sort of like brought me down so yeah being a good reader to yourself I think help anyone else want to chime in you don't have to hold on I'm obviously from you it's not the rejection part is about everything I've written is pretty much based on people I know so like in the beginning that was really hard because there was a story and it was I kind of wrote it really fast after a difficult period I didn't think it'd get published but then it got published but in a fairly prominent magazine and it was about my aunt and um who was like she's like a second mom to me but like what so my mom was like you gotta tell her coming out because people going to read it and they're going to know and so I did like I called her before and I was like ripping my hair up and so then she had people read it and her friends were like can you believe she made you out to be such a Wolverine and and she was so cool about it she said my really my relationship with Sonu my relationship with Sanne is my relationship with Sanne and her relationship with her character does her relationship with her characters and like I think what I like lost my virginity with that and now you drag add I was like hey I'll just write about Who I am yeah that's really a friend around yeah we have time for one more question hi hi this is just a question for the whole panel really so obviously you know grant I think it's tremendously reassuring the grantor has been running its best of additions for over three decades now with British and now American writers and obviously it's really heartening to see kind of just how much it still matters and how important it is for discovering new writing but I just wanted to ask you know in 2017 did both as a region and your experiences as novelists and writers where should we be looking to discover new writing now where where should we be going to find sort of the writing that's really exciting you know if I want to say to my friends I found this incredible author you know before that go where should I be looking Soho Press where Margit ocean at it I mean they like I do think small presses like there's a lot there kind of unbound by the same constraints that some of the larger I mean I I say this like I am published by like a big press but you know the smaller presses tend to be where a lot of interesting is going on I think in the library also I think just looking backwards through the centuries there's so many great things have been written and actually the only reason they're not exciting to people now is because the context is you know abstruse or difficult to approach but once you have the wherewithal to avail yourself of any of these books and English thousands of years of books and some a handful of them are extolled now that they're great and many of them if you know many of them actually wouldn't be published today they're just they're daring and inventive and strange and you know what do you think about that well I I'm actually I'm just reading that book that came out like a year ago that's about the publication history of Joyce and it's really very heartening to read like it this is more for the last question but you see what Joyce went through good god I'm I mean it took him years and years to publish Dubliners the publisher who first said they were going to do it they then decide well we'll only do it if you take out this one story and make XYZ other changes he's like no you can't do it like that publisher practically sued him you like disparage them in the press they dreaded to suit him like the man had nothing but struggle and strife the whole of his career and meanwhile he's going blind and he's got all these other problems like money money money problems like big-time like it did make me feel very grateful to have a book at like a publisher published by Graywolf press and independent press and it was it was great to have a home and yeah for this question I would say briefly that it is very diffuse right now and there's not I mean your question is hard to answer because there isn't a short answer to it like there's so much going on in the centers as as in so many other things like the centers haven't held it's very the action is very dispersed so you have to do some work but I mean the real way to do is kind of make you know listen to what smart people whose advice you like about books like and what they're recommend and kind of follow that trail of authors who you dig into people that they dig and are influenced by and the people like that and there's lots of great places to find I mean the writer Dennis Cooper has this amazing blog that he updates four or five times a week full of writing recommendations for stuff from the past for contemporary stuff and that's kind of an amazing resource but there's a hundred things like that and I mean here at politics and prose we always have small press displays and we have several booksellers that are absolutely devoted to reading them and refreshing them and making sure they're really vital so I was actually right before you cut me off of try to take independent books on how to get it in there I want to get it in there independent booksellers are the number one resource for learning about what the cool fiction is right now and with that thank you very much to all of you and really gratefully you

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