Tag Archives: Playing Dead

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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What We’re Reading – November 2016

swing-time-zadie-smith

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.’”

moonglow-michael-chabon

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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