You Write Because You Want to Feel Free: Katie Kitamura and Alexander Manshel

“I grew up with this very firm sense that there were multiple places that I could consider a home, rather than homes simply.”

Our partner podcast Novel Dialogue invites a novelist and a literary critic to talk about novels from every angle: how we read them, write them, publish them, and remember them. This season’s signature question is: “What is the first book you remember loving?”


Although Katie Kitamura feels free when she writes—free from the “soup of everyday life,” from the political realities that weigh upon her, and even at times from the limits of her own thinking—she is keenly aware of the unfreedoms her novels explore. Katie, author of the award-winning Intimacies (2021), talks with critic Alexander Manshel about the darker corners of the human psyche and the inescapable contours of history that shape her fiction. Alexander and Katie explore how she brings these tensions to “the space of interpretation, where the book exists” and places trust in her readers to dwell there thoughtfully. They also discuss the influence of absent men (including Henry James), love triangles, love stories, long books, and titles (hint: someone close to Katie says all her novels could be called Complicity). Stay tuned for Katie’s answer to the signature question, which takes listeners from the farmlands of Avonlea to the mean streets of Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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View a transcript of the episode here.

 

 

 

Mentioned in this Episode

By Katie Kitamura:

Also mentioned:

Featured image: From the cover of the first edition of Anne of Green Gables, 1908.