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15: So, Who's Funny in the Age of Trump?

In episode 15, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell ask who’s funny in the age of Trump, and how they’re managing to pull it off. They talk to Sloane Crosley, author of the new essay collection, Look Alive Out There, about the humor of the everyday and the freedom and subversiveness of not writing about the president. The also speak to Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post’s ComPost column, whose column features humorous takes on political news ranging from James Comey’s book release to...


14: All Fiction is Crime Fiction

In episode 14, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell examine the omnipresent American comfort narrative of mystery and crime fiction. Why do we love crime stories so much? How do they shape the way that we think about a whole host of real-world issues from the Mueller investigation to Black Lives Matter and the shootings of young black men by police? They are joined for this discussion by Mat Johnson, author of the novels Loving Day, Pym, Drop, and Hunting in Harlem, the nonfiction novella...


13: At the Intersection of Nationalism, Religion, and Social Media

Earlier this month, mob attacks on Sri Lanka’s minority Muslim community prompted a state of emergency in that country, and a temporary ban on Facebook and other social media applications. In Episode 13, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell speak to Meera Srinivasan, The Hindu’s Sri Lanka correspondent, about her reporting on those incidents and the rise of Sinhala Buddhist hardliners in Sri Lanka, as well as the parallels she sees between that situation and the rise of populism in the...


12: #Neveragain and the Hope of Student Protest

In mid-February, seventeen students and adults were shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In the aftermath, surviving students have led a powerful campaign for gun control. In episode 12, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell bring you two authors—and a pile of books—that have covered the territory of school shootings, activism, and coming of age. First, Jim Shepard discusses his 2004 novel Project X, which is told from the POV of an eighth-grader who decides...


11: Annihilation, Adaptation: What's It Really Like to Have Your Book Made Into a Movie

In episode 11, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell offer a very Lit Hub take on Academy Awards season. What’s the process really like when a book becomes a movie? How does Hollywood decide which books will work best for the big screen? For answers, they talk to production and development executive Christina Sibul, who worked on the Academy Award nominated book adaptations The House of Sand and Fog (2003) and Sideways (2004). Then author Jeff VanderMeer joins the show, fresh back from the...


10: Anti-Semitism and the Authoritarian Playbook

Recently, the Polish Senate passed a law that would criminalize any suggestions of complicity by the Polish state in Nazi war crimes, including the Holocaust. In episode 10, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell talk to the novelist Steve Yarbrough about the nationalist Law and Justice party, which is behind the ban—and how their authoritarian tactics mirror those of the Trump Administration. Yarbrough's new novel, The Unmade World, is set in contemporary Poland and America. Then we talk...


9: A Whole New Kind of Obscenity?

For episode 9, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell talk with Ron Charles, editor of The Washington Post Book World and Shanthi Sekaran, author of Lucky Boy, about obscenity, literature, and immigration. In the first half of the show, Charles leads us through the famous 1933 obscenity trial involving James Joyce's Ulysses and the 1964 trial involving Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. Then Shanthi Sekaran talks to us about Trump's infamous shithole comments, his immigration policy, and how...


8: Literary Color Lines

In episode 8, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell talk about sensitivity reads, cross-cultural writing, and the lack of diversity in the publishing industry with author and COO of We Need Diverse Books Dhonielle Clayton and agent Ayesha Pande. In the first half of the show, Clayton talks about her own career as a sensitivity reader—or, as she prefers, a targeted beta reader—and discusses her concerns with a recent _New York Times_ article on the subject. In the show's second segment,...


7: How Has Literary Life Changed in 20 Years? With Curtis Sittenfeld and Oscar Villalon

In search of some nostalgic holiday cheer, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell climb in the way back machine and time travel to 1997 with critic and editor Oscar Villalon and novelist Curtis Sittenfeld. Oscar rounds up the books that won prizes twenty years ago, the books that remain relevant, and explains why these books aren't always the same. Curtis talks to us about Monica Lewinsky, Esquire, The Prairie Wife, Sex and the City and the very literary politics of 1997\. PLUS an...


6: All the President's Shakespeare

In episode 6, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell talk political betrayal past and present with novelist Jess Walter and poet Kiki Petrosino. Jess Walter once interviewed an ailing Mark Felt, aka "Deep Throat" of Watergate fame, and he gives us the skinny on the literary qualities of Nixon, Trump, Flynn, NY mobsters, and his 2005 novel Citizen Vince. Plus, would John Gotti have liked the president? On the eve of the release of her new book, Witch Wife, Kiki Petrosino talks to us about...


5: The New Culture Wars: Higher Ed Edition

The novelists V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell discuss how cuts to higher education are threatening the fabric of American life. Guests John Freeman and Sarah Smarsh talk about the higher cost of college has exacerbated income inequality. And the director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Lan Samantha Chang, weighs in on how the great Midwestern public universities are being squeezed by Republican-led state legislatures. Readings: "We Just Don't Feel Like We Belong Here Anymore" by Becca...


4: We're All Russian, Now

V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell discuss Russian-American political machinations with Ukrainian-born novelist Sana Krasikov and novelist Charles Baxter explores America's curious fascination with Chekhov and great Russian literature. For more, head to


3: The Power of Facebook: How Big is Too Big?

In episode three of fiction/non/fiction, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Whitney Terrell talk to The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal and novelist Alexander Chee about Facebook, Russia, dark ads, and how writers are changing their relationship to social media. For more, head to


2: Jia Tolentino and Claire Vaye Watkins on Abuse, Harassment, and Harvey Weinstein

In episode two of Fiction/Non/Fiction, Whitney Terrell and V.V. Ganeshananthan talk to Jia Tolentino and Claire Vaye Watkins about Hollywood's serial abusers, harassment, and the now infamous Harvey Weinstein. For more, head to


The Art of Kneeling: Colin Kaepernick Edition

In the first episode of fiction/non/fiction, Whitney Terrell and V.V. Ganeshananthan talk to Brit Bennett and Matt Gallagher about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of institutional racism and police violence.


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