:: Interviews

Jolts: an interview with Fernando Sdrigotti published 29/04/2020

It was supposed to be an essay, but I ended up writing something in between fiction and an essay. And that’s when this “confession” (we could call it that) took place. The internal debate about rejecting and embracing what and who I am became explicit in this piece. And it felt great to get this out of me, and embrace it, yes. I don’t believe in writing as a form of therapy but accidentally I ended up accepting a lot of things about myself writing these stories, and then turning them into a book.

Sylvia Warren interviews Fernando Sdrigotti.

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Living in the End Times published 09/04/2020

‘The Sabbath is not simply a time for rest, for relaxation,’ Wittgenstein writes. ‘We ought to contemplate our labours from without and not just from within.’ Why ‘contemplation from without’? Because it’s when you remove yourself from the claims of the work day, from work time, that you can ask questions concerning the value of it all. Whence the stream of questions that the characters ask in a kind of chorus when they’re out of school, whether they’re in the woods, smoking dope in Joel Park or drinking on Art’s broken patio.

Markku Nivalainen interviews Lars Iyer about Nietzsche and the Burbs.

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Sensuous Knowledge: A Conversation with Minna Salami published 01/04/2020

Lived experience is part of what I define as Sensuous Knowledge. The felt and embodied have always been a feminine way of approaching knowledge. Historically it’s been a way for us to make critical interventions to oppression. This has a lot to do with women being excluded from privilege, such as not being allowed to study or write books at different points in history. And for people of African heritage there’s been even more exclusion from those things. So the personal has always been a critical space. I appreciate the type of literature that strives to be strictly objective and academic. But I wanted Sensuous Knowledge to be a holistic reflection of all of life, the mind, body and soul.

Andy West interviews Minna Salami.

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Alive and Sane: An Interview with Alex Niven published 05/03/2020

There was brief period of time when a genuine and tight-knit avant-garde was able to develop around critical theory and pop-cultural analysis, with Mark Fisher acting as the main focal point and driving force. Like all avant-gardes, it faded and scattered over time, but that doesn’t mean that the internet is now devoid of good writing and commentary. As I say in the book, writing these days is more overtly political, which is generally a good thing.

Oscar Mardell interviews Alex Niven about New Model Island.

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The Sensation of Taboo: An Interview with Susan Orlean published 25/02/2020

3:AM Magazine: Why did you decide to burn an actual book as part of your research?

Susan Orlean: Well, for two reasons. Number one is that, because I was writing about 400,000 books being burned, it seemed important and useful to actually see it so that I could have a visual reference. But really more to the point, I was very curious about the sensation of taboo and the thought that this was something that felt really transgressive. I was curious whether that was something I was imagining or whether it was true that the idea of burning books was so wrong. I wanted to push myself and assess the level of comfort or discomfort that I had about it.

Thomas Phillips interviews Susan Orlean.

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Becoming Dolores: William T. Vollmann Exposes His Female Alter Ego published 05/02/2020

When you read an interview with William T. Vollmann you never quite know which William T. Vollmann you are going to get. Wild Bill Vollmann—the reckless journalist reporting on humanity’s crooked timber from the latest geopolitical hotspot? Billy the Kid—grinning nerd in flak jacket welcoming you into his creepy den of iniquities? William the Blunderer—concerned citizen quixotically laboring to save the world one lost soul at a time? Or maybe you’ll simply hang out with William Tell and shoot some guns of an afternoon, like French writer David Boratav did in 2004. None of these caricatures really do Vollmann justice, but if they help raise his profile and sell his books they’re doing their job. When in a 2010 interview with Carson Chan and Matthew Evans, Vollmann discusses the founding mythology of “American Ovidianism”—the ideal that you can change who you are—you understand that his commitment to transformation is not simply aesthetic, but ethical. His writing argues that each of us has the right to be who we are, and who we want to be.

Stephen Heyman interviews William T. Vollmann, an excerpt from Conversations with William T. Vollmann, edited by Daniel Lukes.

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The mail never stops: Small press interview with Joshua Rothes of Sublunary Editions published 20/01/2020

I have a special fondness for brief forms of literature, and I wanted, first and foremost, a place to showcase those in a way that gave them presence, space in the life of a reader that, in the absence of a substantial printed collection or inclusion in some compendium or another, I thought they seldom received. I wanted them to be printed on good paper, typeset (each uniquely so), the objects of anticipation. Still, as great as it sounded in my head, I had no idea how writers would react to it: “What, you’re just going to fold my story and put a stamp on it?” But people have really embraced it, readers and authors. The short books I’m now starting to dabble in are just the next logical extension of that.

Joseph Schreiber interviews Joshua Rothes of Sublunary Editions.

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Whispers in the Ear of a Dreaming Ape: An Interview with Joshua Chaplinsky published 21/12/2019

I was born and raised on Long Island, and have been living in Queens for the last decade or so. I don’t know if the geography affected me that much, but the middle-class suburban malaise definitely did. Although, there were points where we were hanging on to the “middle-class” part by our fingertips. How that affected me as a writer, specifically — that’s for my future biographer to say.

Chris Kelso interviews Joshua Chaplinsky.

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Another Form of Turning: An Interview with Jessica J. Lee published 16/12/2019

The preservation of her grandfather’s story was given weight by his struggle with Alzheimer’s, which would later claim his life. “The realisation that the past was quickly dissolving,” she writes, “gave an urgency to the task of knowing it.” In a latter passage, she writes of his last days, “Alzheimer’s, I think, is a form of haunting. It possesses the people we love, takes them away in stages, devouring memory, life, personality. As the disease progresses, the proteins that gather in the brain begin to form plaques around nerve cells, structures that once transported nutrients collapse, and the brain tissue shrinks. First short-term, then long-term, memories disappear. The people we know fade, as though gradually stepping out of a picture.”

Pete Carvill interviews Jessica J. Lee, whose book Two Trees Make a Forest is out now.

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A Writer in His Own Worst Way: Two Days Across Pittsburgh with Gary Lutz published 01/12/2019

“The truth is, the way I write, and it’s the only way I can write, I used to think I was imitating John Updike,” he says. “Obviously, my writing is nothing like John Updike’s stuff. I always had a vague sense of my own limitations. I didn’t grow up with books. I was essentially a nonverbal kid. Late in life, I found out I’m on the autism spectrum. As a kid, I didn’t understand how to use language properly, because nobody ever really spoke to me at any length except on television. And I didn’t watch a lot of television. So I think with my writing, the weirdness comes in part from not really feeling as if even American English is my language.”

David Nutt interviews Gary Lutz (with exclusive pictures).

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