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 readPsychology
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
Literary Hub6 min read
The Woman Who Beat the Nazis in Europe’s Deadliest Horse Race
Amidst growing enthusiasm for horse racing among Czechoslovak patriots, President Tomáš Masaryk himself was persuaded to visit Velká Chuchle in May 1931, where he watched Jiří Esch ride Oskar to victory in the Czechoslovak Derby. It was a big coup fo
Literary Hub3 min read
Sarah Weinman: Why We’ve Always Misunderstood Lolita
This week on The Maris Review, Sarah Weinman joins Maris Kreizman to discuss her book, The Real Lolita, now available in paperback from Ecco. On our misunderstanding of Lolita: Sarah: One of the things about writing this book is that it wasn’t just w
Literary Hub3 min read
Josh Gondelman on the Importance of Knowing Your Audience
Josh Gondelman is the guest. His new book, Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results, is available from Harper Perennial (Sept. 17). Gondelman is a writer and comedian who came up in Boston before moving to New York City, where he curren
Literary Hub9 min read
Laura Van Den Berg On Divining The Unseeable, And Her Family’s History With The Paranormal
My mother saw her first psychic when she was a young woman, 19 or 20, in her hometown of Nashville. Her father drove her over to a place in East Nashville, where she remembers a dramatic-looking woman (big earrings, a clamor of bracelets) swinging op
Literary Hub6 min read
Rebecca Fisseha On #MeToo In Ethiopia And Eritrea
As a rule, I don’t follow anonymous social media accounts, except for @shadesofinjera. With smart, daring prompts, it always gets its 50K+ habesha (Ethiopian and Eritrean) followers talking about issues rarely discussed, taboo, or flat-out denied in
Literary Hub8 min read
From Wall Street to Chicago’s South Side: When Global Economics Make Local Progress Nearly Impossible
Earl Johnson grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes, the child of a Mississippi-born single mother who worked as a nursing assistant. When he graduated from high school, in 1991, he persuaded his mother to move the family out of the projects to someplace
Literary Hub9 min read
Why Does Sickness Feel So Isolating When Everyone is Sick?
The things I didn’t want to think about again, but am now thinking about after reading Anne Boyer’s The Undying: The boyfriend who told me I talked about death too much. The doctor who told me about my reproductive chances before he told me about my
Literary Hub4 min read
How to Attract Touring Authors to a City That Most Skip
San Diego’s southbound freeways all have one: the LAST USA EXIT sign. Maybe it’s a warning —get off the freeway now, or enter a hassle at best, bureaucratic nightmare at worst, trying to get back into the country. Border motor and foot traffic aside,
Literary Hub4 min read
Emma Donoghue on Hamilton, Writer’s Block, and Giving Up on War and Peace
Emma Donoghue’s Akin is out now from Little Brown. * What do you always want to talk about in interviews but never get to? I’m going to sound like a geek here, but the questions I love are the technical ones about the craft of writing. See, I spend s
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