Category Archives: Interviews

Reflections on Silk Roads: An Interview with Peter Frankopan

By Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Oxford historian Peter Frankopan’s much-praised book The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, first published in the UK in 2015 and just out in paperback in the United States, is already available in various languages other than English and is getting reviewed and talked about in the press on several continents.  One tangible indication of its reach is that, when I flew home from the Shanghai International Literary Festival Sunday, one of the last things I saw in China was a Chinese language edition of it displayed in a Pudong airport shop, while one of the first things I saw once back in America, as the photograph accompanying this interview shows, was the English language edition prominently featured on the shelves of an SFO bookstore.  Silk Roads is a sprawling, engagingly written, comprehensive effort to pull the loci of world history east to the networks of political, economic and cultural exchange that have connected Europe with Asia for centuries. For Frankopan, these early trading routes form the basis for understanding the geopolitics of our time.  I caught up with him via email to quiz him on various things relating to the present as well as the past. Continue reading

An Alphabet for Vegans: Laura Wright on The First Mess Cookbook

By Chloe Chappe

Laura Wright is the creator of the Saveur Magazine award-winning blog The First Mess. She hails from southern Ontario, Canada, where she still lives and cooks, in her creative and striking style. Laura crafts mostly vegan and gluten free recipes, packing in as much flavor, warmth, and nourishment as she can. The First Mess Cookbook, out March 7th, features many of her unique, innovative recipes, including  Creamy Quinoa and White Bean Risotto with Crispy Brassica Florets, as well as a Earl Grey Tiramisu. We discussed the stress of working on a cookbook, the community in the wellness cooking blog world, and her lineup of female culinary idols.

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What is America Anyway?: An Interview With Eula Biss

By Cypress Marrs

In 1979, Joan Didion proclaimed, “we tell ourselves stories in order to live.” Eula Biss brings this certainty back from the brink of truism by asking: what are these stories? Where do they come from? And what do they mean for the way we live? Dissecting the myths that determine the way news is covered and the world is conceived, Biss employs the personal, the philosophical, the linguistic, and the historical to reframe moral and political dilemmas. Continue reading

The Language Behind a (Short) Brutal Affair: An Interview with Translator Stefan Tobler

By Stephanie LaCava

One of two published long-form works by Brazilian writer Raduan Nassar, A Cup of Rage is a tiny book clocking in at a carefully wrought 65 pages that tackles the dynamic between two sparring lovers, fraught with competitive ire and dueling politic. The couple is comprised of a reclusive older man and a younger woman, who works as a journalist. The man narrates all but the final passage, expressing disdain for his lovers privilege and simultaneous claim of hard-won moral integrity. You shitty little intellectual, he says, it never occurred to you that everything you say and everything you vomit up is all stuff that youve heard from other people, that you havent done any of the stuff you talk about, that you only screwed like a virgin and that without my crowbar you arent any-fucking thing. Having lived through more years, he thinks her posture of higher ground claimed humanism is neither sustainable nor truthful. He feels superior; or rather, knows the power he wields in seeming so. He reflects: above all [] the more indifferent I seemed to be, the more attractive she found me. Continue reading

I Cut and Cut and Cut Away: An Interview with Kate Zambreno

By Meghan Lamb

Kate Zambreno’s first book, O Fallen Angel, was released in 2009 by Chiasmus Press as the winner of its aptly titled “Undoing the Novel” contest. This was also the year I moved to Chicago, the city where Kate then lived. There, O Fallen Angel was insinuatingly suggested to me by a bookseller at Quimby’s, offered as a kind of (anti)social talisman: “Have you heard of Kate Zambreno?” Continue reading

In Honor of Valentine’s Day: Three Award-Winning Romance Novelists Discuss Their Craft

By Laurelin Paige, CD Reiss, and Vanessa Fewings

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, three notable romance authors interview each other about the the art of storytelling and share their thoughts on the popular genre. Laurelin Paige is the New York Times Bestselling Author of Chandler, CD Reiss is the New York Times Bestselling Author of Marriage Games and Separation Games, and Vanessa Fewings is the USA Today Bestselling Author of Enthrall Secrets. Continue reading

Trickle-Down Censorship in China: An Interview with JFK Miller

By Susan Blumeberg-Kason

I first became acquainted with JFK Miller through Whyiwrite.net, a site he founded and curates of interviews with authors who mainly write about China. Miller, an Australian, is a former expat of Indonesia, Singapore, and most recently, Shanghai, where he was editor-in-chief of an English magazine for more than six years. He returned to Brisbane in 2015 and recently published his first book, Trickle-Down Censorship: An Outsider’s Account of Working Inside China’s Censorship Regime (Hybrid Publishers, 2016). I recently asked him via e-mail about his years in China, censorship, and publishing. Continue reading

Washington and Moscow in the Time of Trump: An Interview with Nina Khrushcheva

By Olivia Humphrey (PhD candidate at UCI) for the Provocations series, in conjunction with UCI’s “The Future of Truth” conference

Given the recent attention on U.S.-Russia relations and comparisons, the team responsible for the “Future of Truth” workshop at UC Irvine decided to turn to Nina Khrushcheva, a participant in last year’s “What Cannot Be Said” forum for insight. Nina Khrushcheva is a professor of International Affairs at the New School, a senior fellow of World Policy Institute, and contributing editor to Project Syndicate: Association of Newspapers Around the WorldContinue reading