Literary Hub3 min read
Kevin Barry on the Need to Sustain Our Literature
Kevin Barry’s Night Boat to Tangier is out now from Doubleday. *  What do you always want to talk about in interviews but never get asked? About exactly how important it is that we sustain our literature; it is humanity’s greatest achievement, and it
Literary Hub13 min read
My First Library Was a Library of Porn
If you look back at any period of repressive order or puritanism in history, the underground thrives, whether it is samizdat literature in Soviet Russia, privately printed porn in Victorian England, or naughty netsuke made in the highly ordered Edo p
Literary Hub5 min readFashion & Beauty
Josh Gondelman: Please Stop Trying to Make Dad Shoes Cool
You don’t have to be rich to dress badly. If you really want to look like shit, you can accomplish that for very little money. Wear your own old threadbare or ill-fitting clothing. Buy an out-of-date outfit from a thrift shop. It’s easy and within re
Literary Hub3 min read
On the Snarky Poem That Got Its Author Murdered
It was 1613, and Robert Carr was in love. He had fallen hard for a young woman by the name of Frances Howard, whom he’d met at King James’s court. Sure, she was married, but it had been a political match, and she claimed the marriage had never been c
Literary Hub6 min read
On The Haunted Lives Of Girls And Women
At Antioch College in the mid 90s, two courses taught by the fabulous Marianne Whelchel shaped my fascination with feminist literature—specifically the “haunted house.” Not the kind I’d seen in Scooby Doo cartoons, with strategically set up movie pro
Literary Hub6 min read
What Indigenous Stories Can Teach a New Generation of Farmers
Twenty-one pairs of dark brown eyes were glued on the instructor during agroforestry class at Soul Fire Farm’s residential program for Black-Indigenous farmers. They sat cross-legged and sprawled on the dewy grass, encircling a peach tree laden with
Literary Hub4 min read
Anne Boyer: What Is The Language Of Pain?
To be a minor person in great pain at this point in history is to be a person who feels inside their body when most people just want to look. There’s expository pain like an X-ray machine, illuminating the difficult mysteries of the interior. There’s
Literary Hub6 min read
On the Dark and Dangerous Underbelly of Climate Conspiracy Theories
In July, as temperatures across the United States started to soar in the triple digits, Mike Adams was, for a rare moment, in a celebratory mood. “The climate change hoax,” he exulted on Natural News, the website he founded, “has collapsed.” New rese
Literary Hub14 min read
Speaking Black Life Across Generations: A Conversation with Imani Perry
In Imani Perry’s newest book, Breathe (Beacon Press, September 2019), the author calls on her two sons, Freeman and Issa, to live dignified, fulfilling lives that honor Black political and intellectual traditions, despite the precariousness of Black
Literary Hub8 min read
On Alma Mahler, Muse and Mistress of Fin-de-Siecle Vienna
When Alma Mahler walked into a room, heads turned. Her magnetic presence and charismatic allure were like “an electric charge” in any gathering. She was a femme fatale who commanded fascination, adoration, and love and could enchant people in seconds
Literary Hub10 min read
Marching on London with Extinction Rebellion
One conversation went from a discussion of Bolaño’s bad teeth to our being guardians of the water. My fellow pilgrim’s name was Jeff—beautiful, silver-haired Jeff—and his plan was to stop at each of the natural springs the group was due to pass over
Literary Hub5 min read
The US Tour That Made Gertrude Stein a Household Name
Once on board the ship, Gertrude Stein and Alice were treated like the transatlantic celebrities they had become. Champlain’s captain, William Vogel, invited them to dine at his table during the voyage, but Gertrude declined, preferring to select the
Literary Hub4 min read
Elizabeth McCracken: Remembering Susan Kamil, Friend and Editor
I don’t believe in astrology but I believe in fate. I know exactly when I found out that I shared a birthday with Susan Kamil: our first in-person meeting, 1990, when I admired the extraordinary black leather jacket she was wearing, which had been a
Literary Hub6 min read
How To Be Human In A Time Of Climate Crisis
The full gravity of our ecological crisis didn’t hit me until the birth of my second child, which wasn’t the best timing. I can’t point to any single event that pushed me from accepting climate change as fact to knowing in the pit of my stomach that
Literary Hub14 min read
Searching For Women’s Voices In The Harshest Landscape On Earth
Sometime last spring you receive a cryptic missive from your Program Officer at the National Science Foundation. It reads: An interesting opportunity has come up. Call me in the morning. Valentine. A strong wind blows all night, stripping the cherry
Literary Hub5 min read
Can Climate Fiction Be… Hopeful?
Alex DiFrancesco’s All City and Ashley Shelby’s Muri both examine the repercussions of climate change in the lives of their characters. DiFrancesco and Shelby discussed the ways in which the climate crisis has affected their work, writing collective
Literary Hub3 min read
Helen Phillips on Her Dark Exploration of Motherhood
First Draft: A Dialogue of Writing is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with fiction, nonfiction, essay writers, and poets, highlighting the voices of writers as they discuss their work, their craft, and the literary arts. Hosted by Mitzi R
Literary Hub5 min read
The Inspired Vengeance of Mythic Icelandic Women
In college, I occasionally wrote short stories. More often than not, the stories revolved around a woman’s reaction to a man’s power in her life. One short story detailed a woman’s emotional response while posing as a nude model for an artist; anothe
Literary Hub7 min read
10 Forgotten Books of the 1920s Worth Reading Now
Prohibition-era criminal mastermind George Remus—unlike other 1920s gangland kingpins like Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, or Charles “Lucky” Luciano—has been largely forgotten. The “King of the Bootleggers,” who led a raucous life highlighted by forming a
Literary Hub12 min read
Brandon Taylor: Fear Is A Prolonged Argument With The World
Earlier this year, I had to go to the doctor several times for a series of examinations. These examinations necessitated hooking me up to a machine that measured my blood pressure. Each of these readings came back high. My doctor looked at me with co
Literary Hub5 min read
What Are We Saying When We Grant a Movie ‘Universal’ Status?
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a critic praising Lulu Wang’s The Farewell must describe it as “universal.” A close cousin to “accessible,” “anyone,” “everybody,” and “all families,” the word “universal” is used especially often to appla
Literary Hub10 min read
September 10, 2001 at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World
Monday, September 10, was looking to be a miserable day, with torrential rain and wind. The day before, Australian tennis upstart Lleyton Hewitt had aced American Pete Sampras, and, on Saturday, Venus Williams had beaten her sister Serena in the fina
Literary Hub10 min read
On Attempting to Deal With Addiction Through Books
As with everything, I thought I could destroy addiction with books. For a couple of years, my reading of philosophy and literature took a back seat to self-help. I would embark on a new self-help book, only to be quickly put off by some claim I thoug
Literary Hub8 min read
On Eric Garner, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Police Brutality as American Tradition
In the ancient medical treatise on traditional Chinese medicine the Huangdi Neijing, written by the Chinese emperor Huangdi about 2600 BCE, the lung organ is a bridge between heaven and earth, and the initial vessel to receive pure energy, or qi: “Wh
Literary Hub11 min read
A Brief History of Mostly Terrible Campaign Biographies
Election years have their assortment of ritual appendages: sacrificial meats eaten at outdoor festivals, lies, scandals, poll numbers that grow increasingly useless as a country learns not to pick up the phone, dog whistles, prejudice, and metaphors
Literary Hub5 min read
A Legendary Publishing House’s Most Infamous Rejection Letters
Publishing history is littered with tales of authors who suffered rejection after rejection—often for years—before they finally found a publisher prepared to take them on. Their stories are invoked as encouragement to every struggling writer: persist
Literary Hub9 min readSelf-Improvement
How Can You Know What Your Dog is Really Feeling?
Every day watching dogs I see emotion in them. At the lab, many of the scenes we create for them are inadvertent emotion provocation. I see curiosity directed at a small robotic “dog” toy that dances and plays a tune. I see surprise when a hidden per
Literary Hub3 min read
When D.H. Lawrence’s “Unlovely” Paintings Were Confiscated by Scotland Yard
On June 14th, 1929, the Dorothy Warren Gallery in London opened an exhibition of paintings by a new artist, one not known to the public—except, of course, as the author of the recently published (and recently banned) Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and othe
Literary Hub5 min read
On the Iconic Iraqi Writer Who Modernized Poetic Forms
Was Fadhil al-Azzawi better as a poet or as a novelist? His career spanned both realms, each a testament to the vitality of his modernism, his prolific literary output, and his commitment to the role of the free and independent intellectual. There ar
Literary Hub12 min read
The Hard, Familiar Truths of Rion Amilcar Scott’s Invented World
It was Rion Scott’s first week as a visiting professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and by any measure it had been a busy one. He had only been assigned an office the day before, but had already taught his first class and was preparin
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