Working as a children’s librarian in a “one-library town,” Cleary, age 23, found bored boys asking, “Where are the books about kids like us?”
Writers: Know Thyself in Excess
Why read MFA-trained writers writing about writers training in MFA programs?
Episode 5: Novels & Medicine
How can reading novels affect the way doctors and patients communicate?
B-Sides: Gary Indiana’s “Horse Crazy”
For Indiana, disaster is both imminent and ambient, both apocalyptic and manifested in everyday ordinariness.
Empathy beyond Therapy
Sigrid Nunez’s fiction inspires the question: What would it mean to make caring for others into an explicitly public priority?
Episode 4: Novels & Catastrophe
How do novels help us see the present in a broader historical perspective?
Episode 3: Novels & Intimacy
How can novels expand our understanding of sex and intimacy in the digital age?
Storytelling Is Big Business
When creating and selling culture, you’re also selling a story about that culture—for good and for ill.
Can Novels Make Amends?
Novelists from George Eliot to Mary Gordon ask readers to confront our lives as ethical dramas that run only once, and with great consequence.
Episode 2: Novels & Political Consciousness
How does reading novels affect our understanding of the power dynamics that shape our lives?
Episode 1: Novels & Ideas
How do novels provoke readers to wrestle with complex, even dangerous ideas?
Shirley Hazzard, Poet of Aftermath
Hazzard was given to lingering in the fraught silences that follow great tumult, taking the time to find something worth saying.
Trailer: The Novel Now
What are some of the most notable novels published in the 21st century, and how do they reimagine what novels do?
A Labyrinth for Our Time
What might the dynamic of mental life look like when its physiological counterpart is ill, bedridden, and housebound?
How to Build a World
Storytelling like that of Ursula K. Le Guin or Hayao Miyazaki reveals how real-world politics is similarly an act of collective “world building.”
How to Step Out of Comfort Zones
Caribbean authors—and the “disorderly” women of whom they write—can reveal how important it is to seek out one’s true self.
Re-embodying Palestinian Memory
A recent flourishing of Palestinian literature reckons with complications in historical memory caused by settler colonialism.
Who Killed Nordic Noir?
Scandinavian crime novels once showed how society failed its citizens. Today, the genre innovates differently—by depicting more violence.
Leïla Slimani’s Taboos
Franco-Moroccan writer Leïla Slimani reveals the dirty underside of bourgeois domesticity. Is her taboo breaking worthy of praise?
Igiaba Scego on Writing between History and Literature
“I strongly lay claim to imagination, because to us Black women for a long time the possibility of imagination had been negated.”