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Playing on All 88 Keys: Phillip Lopate, Part 2

What writing advice can one mine from a two-hour interview with prolific essayist, author, and professor Philip Lopate? If you read the July 2018 issue of The Writer, you learned about Lopate's overall approach and philosophy in "Playing on all 88 keys: The prose playbook of Phillip Lopate" who was my former grad school writing teacher. In part two, we go further into that philosophy, and you'll hear tips that didn't make the article. I love this episode because it starts with the question,...


Episode 49: Playing on all 88 keys with Phillip Lopate

You might recognize the title of this podcast if you picked up the July 2018 issue of The Writer. In it, you'll find my article on my former grad school writing teacher Phillip Lopate. I interviewed Lopate last December about his career and in the next two episodes, I'm sharing some of our chat with you. In it, we talk about his latest book, A Mother's Tale, the usefulness of code-switching, the importance of anticipating the readers' objections, and much, much more!


Episode 48: Engineering the short story with author (and engineer) Nick Arvin

In April 2017, I invited author and engineer Nick Arvin to the school where I work. Over two days, he gave several talks on writing, and I recorded one of them: “Nick Arvin and The Short Story.” In this episode, I'm giving you that recording! Nick discusses his short story “Along the Highways.” He gives one of the most thorough, honest, and humorous sessions that I’ve ever heard on writing. He talks about his career in engineering and as an author and how each informs his work in the other....


Episode 47: The Novel, the Novella, and Scott Alexander Hess

Welcome to this special episode of Behind the Prose. Special, because I bet you didn't think it was coming! More special, because it features former guest, literary historical fiction writer and fellow New School Creative Writing MFA Grad Scott Alexander Hess. This time, I talk to him about how he wrote his latest novella, Skyscraper, while he was in the middle of writing a novel. In this episode, besides hearing me butcher the name of his publisher, Lethe Press, you’ll learn why I...


Episode 46: Memoirists Mandy Len Catron and Bob Brody

Today's episode is brought to you by: coincidence. It's how I met both of these great writers. Last year, I covered Bob Brody's essay panel at the American Society of Journalists and Authors for The Writer Magazine. His book Playing Catch with Strangers came out on Father's Day this June on Heliotrope Books. This year, I interviewed Mandy Len Catron for my book proposal on Modern Love essays. Her new book How to Fall in With Anyone comes out on June 27 on Simon and Schuster. Listen below or...


Episode 45: A discussion with humor writer Adam Rotstein

Hey Prosers, I know. I know. Let's not talk about that lil' missing in action thing. The important thing is that I'm here now and so are you! This episode features a humor writer that I discovered earlier this year on McSweeney's. Adam Rotstein has an undergraduate degree in - get this - neuroscience - but he abandoned the field to pursue his love of comedy and humor writing and now he's in LA working on a pilot. In this show, which was recorded in March but fell victim to my unbalanced work...


Episode 44: Geeta Kothari, author of "I Brake For Moose"

In this episode, I talk to Geeta Kothari, an English professor and author of the new short story collection I Brake For Moose, out now on Braddock Avenue Books.


Episode 43: Gilli Messer shares how she landed her first clip on McSweeney's

In this episode, we’re venturing into the land of humor. I discovered actress, singer, and writer Gilli Messer during my daily reading. I loved her piece on McSweeney’s: "Young Couple Shares Vows Amidst State Sponsored Chaos." Listen to learn how she landed her first clip on a major humor site and nailed the voice of New York Times’ wedding beat writers. In this episode you’ll also learn: How an anthropology degree at Barnard College helped Gilli become a better writerThe great new term for...


Episode 42: From the page to the stage with writer Alyssa Sorresso

I met Alyssa Sorresso at the Creative Nonfiction Writer’s Conference in 2015 (not 2014 as I think I said in the podcast). Alyssa’s essay had just been published in Creative Nonfiction, and she approached me after the magazine’s founder and the “Godfather of Creative Nonfiction” Lee Gutkind announced that I was looking for people to interview. Though one of her websites uses the word “tactless” (ironically paired with her middle name, Grace), that’s not the word that comes to mind when she...


Episode 41: How to be an editor with Plume's Kate Napolitano

Plume Senior Editor Kate Napolitano recorded this in October 2016, right before my schedule went to hell in a Coach bag, but I'm happy to finally share it with you. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, Kate's got a girl-next-door vibe and she gives us an honest look at working your way up the ranks in the world's oldest apprenticeship style career. (Not sure if it's actually the world's oldest, but it has to be close.) Kate purchased Phoebe Robinson's debut book "You Can't Touch My Hair...


Get your book life right w/Liz Pryor: Writing advice from the life advice guru

Liz Pryor, author of the new memoir Look At You Now, kicks off season two of Behind the Prose. In this episode, I interview Liz with one of my new interns, associate producer and co-host Sarah Lorish. If you don't feel like you can write a book and get it published after you listen to this, then listen to it again. The feeling is bound to surface. Check out the season two debut of Behind the Prose below or subscribe to Behind the Prose on iTunes to make sure you get every episode. Read the...


Write This Way: Find and Develop a Niche in Your Writing - LIVE from CNFWC 2016

Write This Way: How to Find and Develop a Niche in Your Writing, A Roundtable Discussion Writers are an eclectic group of people and often have a range of interests. This roundtable discussion, moderated by Keysha Whitaker, explores whether writers should clarify and narrow their interests to develop a personal brand and gives advice on how to develop their own beats. The roundtable features writers Jason Bittel, Kristina Marusic, and Shannon Reed. Jason Bittel writes about weird animals for...


Ask an Editor Panel moderated by Ellen Ayoob live from CNFWC 2016

Ask an Editor Panel moderated by In Fact Books Associate Publisher, Ellen Ayoob. The panel features Hattie Fletcher, Creative Nonfiction’s own managing editor, and editors Jessica Bylander and Geeta Kothari. Get an insider’s view—our panel of editors answers your questions about the revision and editing process. Learn how pieces change in revision with an editor's help, and how you can apply these guidelines to your own work. Hattie Fletcher has been the managing editor of Creative...


Structure for Longform Nonfiction presented by Lee Gutkind - LIVE from CNFWC '16

Last year Creative Nonfiction Magazine and Behind the Prose teamed up to bring you special excerpts from the amazing 2016 Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference (CNFWC). (Remember Lee Gutkind’s feature panel on how Law and Order teaches story structure to creative nonfiction writers?) This year, if you couldn't join us in Pittsburgh, PA from May 27 – 29, we hooked you up with the chance to listen live via a special Behind the Prose episode. Here is an excerpt from the master class Structure...


Episode 36: Erik Deckers and The House That Jack Built (Kerouac, that is)

Interviews with Erik Deckers, humor writer, author, and resident #60 of The Kerouac ProjectGeoff Binge of The Kerouac Project


Episode 35: Salon editor Kim Brooks discusses her debut novel The Houseguest

If you’ve ever wondered how to write an alternating point-of-view historical novel with prose that wields similes like samurai swords, then Kim Brooks’ second appearance on Behind the Prose is for you. Brooks graces the virtual studio a second time to discuss her debut novel The Houseguest, out on April 12, 2016 on Counterpoint Press. (Her first time here featured a candid chat on her work at Salon as the personals essays editor.) I enjoyed The Houseguest because I was completely enchanted...


Episode 34: Elana Rabinowitz talks bylines in The New York Times and more

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Episode 33: Jacki Skole merges memoir and investigative journalism in new book

For full show page, visit Jacki Skole is an award-winning journalist and adjunct professor of communication. She launched her journalism career at CNN, first as a news writer, then as a producer in the network’s documentary unit; she’s also produced programs for Animal Planet and HGTV. Jacki has taught at La Salle University, Rider University, and Raritan ValleyCommunity College.


Episode 32: Salon editor Kim Brooks goes behind the prose of “Life” essays

Kim Brooks is the new personal essays editor at Salon, a baton passed on to her from Sarah Hepola. I met Kim (virtually) after I interviewed Sharisse Tracey who had an essay published in Salon. Oh, and by the way, Sharisse Tracey just had another piece published on Yahoo! Parenting - "Why I Moved Out of State and Didn't Take My Children With Me." I recorded this interview with Kim in November, but due to several issues (see last podcast for update), I’m just bringing it to you. Nevertheless,...


Episode 31: Washington Post reporter Jessica Contrera schools future journalists

Happy 2016 Prosers! We've been rocking for almost a year now! Check out the very first Behind the Prose with essayist Tavonne Carson. I'm kicking off 2016 with two great episodes. Today's show features reporter Jessica Contrera who works at The Washington Post. She talks reporting and writing in this episode recorded live with students at Penn State Berks. In two weeks, you'll get an interview with Kim Brooks, Life Editor at Salon. Jessica discusses her new job and how she crafted an...