Non-Fiction by Non-Men: Elizabeth Greenwood

elizabeth-greenwood

Elizabeth Greenwood is the author of Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, where she teaches creative nonfiction. Greenwood grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts.

EB: How did you begin writing nonfiction?

EG: I began dabbling in nonfiction upon the suggestion of a favorite ex-boyfriend who liked my emails and urged me to try something a bit more ambitious. I blogged under a pseudonym for a while which was totally freeing. I’d always loved writing and revered books but had no clue how one went about becoming a writer, outside of academia. I was teaching English as a Second Language in the NYC public schools and wanted to make a switch, so I spent about a year asking everyone what they did for work and what they liked about it. Fortune smiled upon me when I was seated next to a woman at a dinner party who described her job as teaching writing at Columbia and taking classes, and getting paid to do so. Bingo. That was what I wanted to do.

EB: So you decided to pursue an MFA. But why nonfiction as opposed to fiction or poetry? Continue reading

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Did You Hear? Love’s In Need of Love Today

Even though the begining of this week felt like this to a lot of us, Stevie Wonder is always a great way to take a breath and enjoy a timeless song. It’s amazing to me that Songs in the Key Of Life starts with this 7:00 minute rambling jam. An odd choice, but I suppose when you are writing one of the greatest albums of all time, you’re allowed.

Brook Reeder

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What People Are Saying About Eyes on the Island

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We recently published Frank Reddy’s debut novel, Eyes on the Island. Reviewers are loving it.

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“Frank Reddy’s debut blows readers off their feet. A gripping thriller.”

Creative Loafing

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“Captures the atmosphere of Savannah and the Georgia barrier islands, with their mysterious and otherworldly histories, in a way that anyone familiar with the area will recognize.”

The Book Fetish Blog

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“This is a damn good novel.”

Fig and Thistle

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Get Eyes on the Island for only $12 here!

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The Literary Tourist Interviews Christina MacSweeney

Christina MacSweeney

The Literary Tourist is a column of conversations between literary translators about books newly released in translation. This month, Andrea Gregovich interviews Christina MacSweeney. MacSweeney is an acclaimed translator of Latin American literature, best known for her translations of three novels by Valeria Luiselli, including The Story of My Teeth (Coffee House Press, 2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle and Best Translated Book Awards, and won the Los Angeles Times Prize for Best Fiction and the Azul Prize in Canada. Her most recent translation is A Zero Sum Game, an insightful political dystopia that is the debut novel from Mexican writer, editor, and translator Eduardo Rabasa.

Andrea Gregovich: I was immediately intrigued by this novel when I discovered an epigraph of Radiohead lyrics at the beginning of Part One. It was a hook for me, an indicator that this writer is my contemporary, and an invitation for me to relate more personally to what goes on in the book. Did the prominent Radiohead reference give you any hints as to how to approach the book? And did you make sense of why Rabasa chose these particular lyrics from “A Wolf at the Door”?

Christina MacSweeney: I had the same sensation when I first read the epigraph; as a Radiohead fan, it was like an invitation to go on reading. When I asked Eduardo about the song, he told me it had in some way been an inspiration for Villa Miserias, the residential estate in which the novel is set. I seem to remember that one of the characters—the artist, Bramsos—was based on Thom Yorke. The song also expresses the atmosphere of Villa Miserias, and I listened to it often while writing certain sections of the translation. So, yes, it did influence my approach to the novel. Continue reading

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Loner by Teddy Wayne

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A difficult question rests at the heart of Loner, Teddy Wayne’s third novel: under what conditions does a sociopath’s true self emerge? Wayne’s sociopath character, Yale-bound David Federman, has a milquetoast background: middle class, lawyer parents, youngest of three children, low on the social totem pole in high school. But the reader reels in disgust as he begins stalking a fellow classmate. As David’s obsessive quest erupts into violence, more difficult questions arise.

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What We’re Reading – November 2016

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Swing Time by Zadie Smith: “Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…”

memoirs-of-a-polar-bear

Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada: “Three generations (grandmother, mother, son) of polar bears are famous as both circus performers and writers in East Germany: they are polar bears who move in human society, stars of the ring and of the literary world. Happy or sad, each bear writes a story, enjoying both celebrity and ‘the intimacy of being alone with my pen.’”

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Moonglow by Michael Chabon:Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as ‘my grandfather.’ It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of keeping secrets and telling lies.”

Also this month: We’ll review Loner by Teddy Wayne, interview Elizabeth Greenwood, author of Playing Dead, and launch a new column (!) devoted to literature in translation.

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