Other People with Brad Listi
Summary: Brad Listi is the author of a novel called ATTENTION. DEFICIT. DISORDER. and the founder of The Nervous Breakdown, an online culture magazine and literary community. He also runs TNB Books, an independent press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. Here, he offers up in-depth, inappropriate interviews with today's leading authors.
D.R. Haney is the guest. He's the author of the novel BANNED FOR LIFE (And/Or Press) and the nonfiction collection SUBVERSIA, now available from TNB Books. PANK magazine calls it "...heartfelt and personal...a joyful read..." Topics of conversation include: city buses, alienation, poor people, fistfights, male vanity, cocaine, acting, cinema, horror, Marlon Brando, Roger Corman, Jason Voorhees, OCD, Charles Manson, Virginia, The Nervous Breakdown, Williamsburg, Serbia, agents, Montgomery Clift, day jobs, night owls, bipolar disorder, editing, therapy, and the Lower East Side.
Tayari Jones is the guest. She is the author of the novel SILVER SPARROW, now available from Algonquin Books. Library Journal, in a starred review, calls it a "a graceful and shining work about finding the truth." Topics of conversation include: writing, bad romance, Judy Blume, Atlanta, child characters, Ron Carlson, Spelman College, puberty, Chris Rock, The Giving Tree, help, Oprah, Nigeria, Fulbrights, Harvard, letter-writing, pen pals, business, book tours, typewriters, cynicism, dressing up, cleanliness, and new book ideas.
Roxane Gay is the guest. Her debut, AYITI, is a collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and it is now available from Artistically Declined Press. She is an English professor at Eastern Illinois University, co-editor of PANK magazine, fiction editor at Bluestem, and a regular contributor at HTML Giant. An interesting conversation with one of indie lit's most industrious and prolific writers. Topics include: Haiti, Ayiti, the pronunciation of "Ayiti," Omaha, immigration, Phillips Exeter Academy, television, tiger moms, soap operas, sugar cereals, Victor Newman, 90210, architecture, Yale, dropping out, cracking up, road trips, chat rooms, love affairs, older men, Montpelier, Michigan Tech, technical writing, Eastern Illinois, Indianapolis, respect, advanced degrees, titles, online literature, Sean Penn, sugar daddies, insomnia, and philanthropy.
Rex Pickett is the guest. He's the author of the novel SIDEWAYS, which was adapted for the screen by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. The movie went on to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, among many other awards, and the novel itself has since gone on to sell more than 150,000 copies. Most recently, Rex has self-published a novel called VERTICAL, which is the sequel to SIDEWAYS. Topics of conversation include: wine, Knopf, credit card debt, golf, Santa Ynez, introversion, drinking, desperation, Alexander Payne, Michael London, luck, timing, agents, Election, Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections, casting, Paul Giamatti, George Clooney, Thomas Haden Church, the Oscars, Los Olivos, Max Perkins, groupies, failure, success, and merchandising.
The guest is Cecil Castellucci. She's the author of several novels for young adults, the most recent of which is FIRST DAY ON EARTH, now available from Scholastic Press. Kirkus calls it "a simple, tender work that speaks to the alien in all of us." In addition, she is the author of the graphic novel THE PLAIN JANES (DC Comics/Minx) and in 2007 won the Shuster Award for Best Canadian Comic Book Writer. Her first picture book, GRANDMA'S GLOVES (Candlewick), won the California Book Award gold medal for juvenile literature. Topics of conversation include: YA, money, Nerdy Girl, Montreal, music, art, Star Wars, precocity, New York, the Fame School, the soft Bronx, Jennifer Aniston, Chaz Bono, Luis Buñuel, Stan Brakhage, Window Water Baby Moving, digital comic books, performance art, The Shirt, Paris, au pairing, Christian Slater, Martha Plimpton, and dropping out of NYU.
Dana Spiotta is the guest. She's the author of three novels: Lightning Field, Eat the Document (a finalist for the National Book Award), and, most recently, Stone Arabia, now available from Scribner. Publishers Weekly calls it "extraordinary...one of the most moving and original portraits of a sibling relationship in recent fiction.” Topics of conversation include: Los Angeles, adolescence, the olden days, Ally Sheedy, Crossroads School, drama, freaks, freaking out, happiness, Syracuse, Don DeLillo, money, Jim Hosney, Bertolucci, creative autonomy, Gordon Lish, Michael Bay, Columbia, Jack Kerouac, dropping out, philosophy, Seattle, The Quarterly, James Joyce, activism, serial killers, Gary Lutz, parenthood, identity, shooting birds, musicians, obscurity, social media, hope, and skepticism.
Jamal Joseph is the guest. He is the author of the memoir PANTHER BABY, which details his coming of age within the Black Panther movement during the 1960s and '70s—a journey that took him to Riker's Island and Leavenworth prisons before ultimately leading him to his true calling in education, cinema, and the theater arts. Today, Joseph is the chair of Columbia University’s School of the Arts film division—the very school he exhorted students to burn down during one of his most famous speeches as a Panther. It's a truly incredible story. The book is due out from Algonquin on February 7, 2012. Topics of conversation include: Cuba, revolution, the Black Panthers, the IMPACT Repertory Theater, Huey Newton, police brutality, Malcolm X, Bobby Seale, father figures, Riker's, stress, insomnia, drugs, Dr. King, anger, betrayal, social change, Leavenworth, Afeni Shakur, Tupac Shakur, Sundance, James Schamus, Columbia, the Oscars, and love.
Ben Loory is the guest. He's the author of the debut collection STORIES FOR NIGHTTIME AND SOME FOR THE DAY, now available from Penguin. Long a favorite of small zine readers in print and online, as well as a longtime contributor to The Nervous Breakdown, Ben's career took off in 2010 when The New Yorker published his story "The TV." A very unique and gifted writer with a big future ahead of him. Topics of conversation include: warts, needles, sunshine, The New Yorker, alligators, Harvard, Dennis Etchison, calculus, SAT scores, television, AFI, story structure, diagrams, moose, Santa Claus, screenwriting, mental hospitals, Darren Arnofsky, God, Echo Park, the grueling nature of writing, premeditation, and the subconscious.
Edan Lepucki is the guest. She's the author of the novella IF YOU'RE NOT YET LIKE ME, originally published by Flatmancrooked and now available from Nouvella Books. She's a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and a staff writer over at The Millions, where she publishes essays on books and writing that garner a wide online readership. Topics of conversation include: self-imposed social media hiatuses, vacation photos, the narcissistic aspects of curating one's own existence, rejection, persistence, Book Soup, the Iowa Writers Workshop, Dan Chaon, C. Max McGee, Teen Dance, Oberlin College, teaching, wanting to be a teacher, chain wallets, faux fur coats, skateboarding, nude-colored unitards, discipline, parenthood, time management, camel-toe, and The Millions.
The guest is Barry Eisler. He's the author of several bestselling thrillers, the most recent of which is THE DETACHMENT, which caused a stir in publishing earlier this year when Eisler turned down a six-figure deal from St. Martin's and decided instead to strike out on his own and self-publish—before eventually winding up with an exclusive deal at Amazon. Topics of conversation include: media filters, government, the Kodokan, Jon Stewart, drone strikes, manipulation of language, Anwar al-Alaki, Jose Padilla, due process, legacy publishers, Glenn Greenwald, the CIA, intelligence, Scott Horton, publishing, J.A. Konrath, brand consciousness, retarding the growth of digital, and Amazon. This episode of the podcast is sponsored by Audible. Get a free audiobook download by going to audibletrial.com/otherpeople.
David Shields is the guest. He's the author of twelve books, including REALITY HUNGER: A MANIFESTO (Knopf, 2010), which was named one of the best books of the year by more than thirty publications. An interesting conversation with a provocative and intelligent commentator on the state of modern literature. Topics include: J.D. Salinger, Fakes, Matthew Vollmer, the pleasure of concision, Reality Hunger, the symbiotic relationship between teaching and writing, attribution, collage, hip-hop, narrative, Ben Lerner, entertainment, Speedboat, Maggie Nelson, contemporary culture, Jonathan Franzen, northern California, activism, Brown, Black Planet, art, sugar pills, sports, injury, reading, Shakespeare, ambition, and the Rockefeller library.
John Warner is the guest. He's the author of four books, most recently a debut novel called THE FUNNY MAN, available now from SoHo Press. And he's also the longtime editor of McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Topics of conversation include: Lake Charles, McSweeney's, tent revivals, McNeese State, bicycle cops, Robert Olen Butler, John Hughes, Chicago, Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, South Carolina, church, the phrase "bless your heart," The Real World, Barry Bonds, living with your parents, the Woody Creek Tavern, Comic Sans, humor writing, and trying to fit your fist in your mouth.
Charles Shields is the guest. He's the author of AND SO IT GOES — KURT VONNEGUT: A LIFE, now available from Henry Holt. Shields is also the author of MOCKINGBIRD: A PORTRAIT OF HARPER LEE, also available from Holt. This is the first authoritative biography of Vonnegut ever written, with Vonnegut himself authorizing the project prior to his death in 2007. Topics of conversation include: Kurt, Indianapolis, Dresden, Cornell, PTSD, suicide, science fiction, family, journalism, WWII, The Battle of the Bulge, Billy Pilgrim, SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, Joe Crone, creative burnout, Jill Krementz, Cape Cod, New York City, Sardi's, divorce, tragedy, self-loathing, and the psychology of meeting famous people.
Dennis Cooper is the guest. He's the author of several books, including THE SLUTS, GOD JR., the five novels of the George Miles cycle, and, most recently, THE MARBLED SWARM, now available from Harper Perennial. "Disquieting, humbling, and sadly beautiful in the way only Dennis Cooper can be," raves Patrick deWitt. "THE MARBLED SWARM is a mystifying and courageous novel that represents [Cooper's] finest work to date." And Booklist says: "Readers unfamiliar with transgressive fiction would do well to brace themselves for what will either be the shock of the unrelentingly different or, perhaps, the shock of recognizing writing that speaks to their souls." Topics of conversation include: Los Angeles, Paris, F Troop, growth spurts, Rimbaud, Sade, vegetarianism, self-publishing, punk, anarchy, school, Ginsberg, Burroughs, England, Little Caesar, blogging, New York, Blake Butler, Art Forum, SPIN, the Pompidou, sex, violence, David Lynch, and porn writing as a creative exercise.
Darin Strauss is today's guest. He is the author of three novels—CHANG & ENG, THE REAL MCCOY, and MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU. And his most recent book is a memoir called HALF A LIFE (McSweeney's) which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The New York Times Book Review calls it "...elegant, painful, [and] stunningly honest." And Elizabeth Gilbert, author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE, says "[HALF A LIFE] is a searingly self-disciplined work of literature, and of self-examination...the impact is staggering and unforgettable." Plenty to talk about here. Topics of conversation include: short books, Courier New, guilt, PTSD, the performative aspects of grief, auto-responders, subconscious motives, Dave Eggers, writing slowly, conjoined twins, Philip Roth, emoticons, David Lipsky, gestation periods, and the difference between history and memoir.