The Millions

I Am Loudermilk: The Millions Interviews Lucy Ives

In Lucy Ives’s gorgeous and funny second novel Loudermilk—after 2017’s Impossible Views of the World—we follow the adventures of aspiring writer Troy Augustus Loudermilk and his best friend, Harry Rego, as they attempt an audacious con at the country’s most prestigious creative writing program. Loudermilk has been accepted to the MFA program for his poetry, but it’s Harry who has been doing the writing. As the book progresses, we’re introduced to other intriguing characters: Clare, the first-year fiction student with writer’s block; Lizzie, the professor’s daughter who wants to sleep with Loudermilk; and Anton Beans, who wants to think his way through the process of writing a poem. 

As a recent MFA graduate, I wish I’d picked this book up sooner. The questions raised by Ives—Who is a writer? Who is the creative asset? Are we all creatives? Who is to say what can be done at a creative writing program?— are poignant and timely and relevant.

Ives—a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop—and I recently discussed MFA programs, her writing process, and what it means to write about our obsessions.. 

The Millions: I just graduated from my MFA program in fiction and as I finished Loudermilk, I couldn’t help but laugh at how spot on it was about the entire system. You say in your afterword, “He does what he does because of the existence of

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