AND THE DEAD SHALL RISE …

After nearly ten years, my second novel, MEMENTO PARK, is about to come out, with blurbs from Salman Rushdie, Marisa Silver, Min Jin Lee and Joseph O'Neill, as well as starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. Please come by one of my appearances or pre-order the book from any of the usual places if you can't make it in person!

Memento Park graphic

TEV 2.0 – Launch of the newsletter edition

At its height, The Elegant Variation had over 50,000 daily readers. It gave me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of books I loved, like Rob Riemen's Nobility of Spirit, and it engendered many stimulating, international conversations between thoughtful, well-read readers and writers. After my daughter was born and my first book came out, I had to make some decisions about allocating my time, and TEV went fallow, though I've kept the page and its archives available. But I've missed the immersion in literary topics and the connections and discussions that the blog made possible.

The conversation seems to have moved on from blogs to Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and the rest. Blogs now feel very Web 1.0 But I've been attracted to and inspired by the intimacy and samizdat feel of the newsletter form, and thought I'd try a little experiment. I'm leaving the form ...

TEV 2.0 – Launch of the newsletter edition

At its height, The Elegant Variation had over 50,000 daily readers. It gave me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of books I loved, like Rob Riemen's Nobility of Spirit, and it engendered many stimulating, international conversations between thoughtful, well-read readers and writers. After my daughter was born and my first book came out, I had to make some decisions about allocating my time, and TEV went fallow, though I've kept the page and its archives available. But I've missed the immersion in literary topics and the connections and discussions that the blog made possible.

The conversation seems to have moved on from blogs to Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and the rest. Blogs now feel very Web 1.0 But I've been attracted to and inspired by the intimacy and samizdat feel of the newsletter form, and thought I'd try a little experiment. I'm leaving the form ...

TEV 2.0 – Launch of the newsletter edition

At its height, The Elegant Variation had over 50,000 daily readers. It gave me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of books I loved, like Rob Riemen's Nobility of Spirit, and it engendered many stimulating, international conversations between thoughtful, well-read readers and writers. After my daughter was born and my first book came out, I had to make some decisions about allocating my time, and TEV went fallow, though I've kept the page and its archives available. But I've missed the immersion in literary topics and the connections and discussions that the blog made possible.

The conversation seems to have moved on from blogs to Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and the rest. Blogs now feel very Web 1.0 But I've been attracted to and inspired by the intimacy and samizdat feel of the newsletter form, and thought I'd try a little experiment. I'm leaving the form ...

TEV 2.0 – Launch of the newsletter edition

At its height, The Elegant Variation had over 50,000 daily readers. It gave me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of books I loved, like Rob Riemen's Nobility of Spirit, and it engendered many stimulating, international conversations between thoughtful, well-read readers and writers. After my daughter was born and my first book came out, I had to make some decisions about allocating my time, and TEV went fallow, though I've kept the page and its archives available. But I've missed the immersion in literary topics and the connections and discussions that the blog made possible. The conversation seems to have moved on from blogs to Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and the rest. Blogs now feel very Web 1.0 But I've been attracted to and inspired by the intimacy and samizdat feel of the newsletter form, and thought I'd try a little experiment. I'm leaving the form ...

2015 PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship now accepting applications!

I cannot think of a more beneficial fellowship for a writer to apply for than the PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship.  It's a yearlong intensive for new writers who lack access that includes close mentoring, exposure to literary events, classes at the UCLA Writers Program and much, much more.  I have had students who have been Fellows, students who have gone on to become Fellows; I know the people who run the program and I cannot sing its praises highly enough.

The application period is now open and runs through August 11, so get busy and apply!

John Banville reads in Los Angeles

In all the years I have been reading Banville, he's only made one Los Angeles area appearance.  This week he makes his second, as part of the excellent Writers Bloc series.  He's in town - appropriately enough - to discuss his (or, rather, Benjamin Black's) new take on Marlowe:

In Black’s new book, The Black-Eyed Blonde, Philip Marlowe resurfaces so clearly, so visibly, that you can feel his alienation at the wealthy heiress’ mansion on the beach. You are dropped straight into old LA’s Barney’s Beanery, where Marlowe fishes for information about the blonde’s missing boyfriend. The story: a guy goes missing. The wealthy blonde girlfriend wants to find him. But of course that’s only the very first part of the tale. It’s in the complications, the nature of the character and the conflict that we realize that Benjamin Black’s great Dublin character, Quirke, is not unlike Raymond Chandler’s ...

John Banville reads in Los Angeles

In all the years I have been reading Banville, he's only made one Los Angeles area appearance.  This week he makes his second, as part of the excellent Writers Bloc series.  He's in town - appropriately enough - to discuss his (or, rather, Benjamin Black's) new take on Marlowe:

In Black’s new book, The Black-Eyed Blonde, Philip Marlowe resurfaces so clearly, so visibly, that you can feel his alienation at the wealthy heiress’ mansion on the beach. You are dropped straight into old LA’s Barney’s Beanery, where Marlowe fishes for information about the blonde’s missing boyfriend. The story: a guy goes missing. The wealthy blonde girlfriend wants to find him. But of course that’s only the very first part of the tale. It’s in the complications, the nature of the character and the conflict that we realize that Benjamin Black’s great Dublin character, Quirke, is not unlike Raymond Chandler’s ...

My Top 10 Banned Literary Essay List

I have not ranted in a good long while, so:

Herewith this date, any further essays on the following topics are banned, due to my colossal lack of interest:

  • Anything that mentions The Great American Novel.
  • The whole literary vs genre pissing contest (or anything that mentions Jennifer Weiner).
  • Too many male reviewers and/or novelists (or anything that mentions Jennifer Weiner).
  • The ressentiment of the Internet/The evils of Twitter.
  • The Internet has killed civility/print/attention spans.
  • Democratized Self Publishing vs. Gatekeeping Traditional Publishers.
  • The Ebook as a harbinger of End Days.
  • The Ebook as the savior of publishing and writers.
  • Why MFA programs suck.
  • Why MFA programs are awesome.

Please don't get me wrong.  I think that many, if not all, of these topics are of genuine importance. But I have already read your essay.  I read it last year.  I read it the year before.  I've been reading it for ...

My Top 10 Banned Literary Essay List

I have not ranted in a good long while, so:

Herewith this date, any further essays on the following topics are banned, due to my colossal lack of interest:

  • Anything that mentions The Great American Novel.
  • The whole literary vs genre pissing contest (or anything that mentions Jennifer Weiner).
  • Too many male reviewers and/or novelists (or anything that mentions Jennifer Weiner).
  • The ressentiment of the Internet/The evils of Twitter.
  • The Internet has killed civility/print/attention spans.
  • Democratized Self Publishing vs. Gatekeeping Traditional Publishers.
  • The Ebook as a harbinger of End Days.
  • The Ebook as the savior of publishing and writers.
  • Why MFA programs suck.
  • Why MFA programs are awesome.

Please don't get me wrong.  I think that many, if not all, of these topics are of genuine importance. But I have already read your essay.  I read it last year.  I read it the year before.  I've been reading it for ...

My Top 10 Banned Literary Essay List

I have not ranted in a good long while, so:

Herewith this date, any further essays on the following topics are banned, due to my colossal lack of interest:

  • Anything that mentions The Great American Novel.
  • The whole literary vs genre pissing contest (or anything that mentions Jennifer Weiner).
  • Too many male reviewers and/or novelists (or anything that mentions Jennifer Weiner).
  • The ressentiment of the Internet/The evils of Twitter.
  • The Internet has killed civility/print/attention spans.
  • Democratized Self Publishing vs. Gatekeeping Traditional Publishers.
  • The Ebook as a harbinger of End Days.
  • The Ebook as the savior of publishing and writers.
  • Why MFA programs suck.
  • Why MFA programs are awesome.

Please don't get me wrong.  I think that many, if not all, of these topics are of genuine importance. But I have already read your essay.  I read it last year.  I read it the year before.  I've been reading it for ...

Nota Bene: Dept. of Speculation

"When we visit his parents, my daughter tries to learn to swin at the indoor pool.  I watch her serious, scrunched-up face, eyes closed, counting one stroke, two strokes. A few days later, she is up to fifty.  Then my husband arrives from Brooklyn and she insists we rush him straight from the airport to the pool.  But when we get there, she won't do it.  I am tight-lipped, resentful of all the fuss she has required to be made, the great anticlimax of it.  My husband falls asleep in a deck chair as we are deliberating.  He has been up all night, spraying poison.  His mother, bright-eyed, gentles her through the water.  'Once a swimmer, always a swimmer,' she says.

- Jenny Offil, Dept. of Speculation

(Yes, it's been a while, people.  Been busy writing novels and shit.  And I've promised myself in 2014 to try to use ...

Novel Revision Techniques at the Writers Studio

Hey all, there are still a few seats left in my upcoming Novel Revision Techniques class at the Writers Studio with the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

For those who don't know about the Writers Studio, it's an amazing four-day intensive held every February. And my revision class is really the only class of its kind that I am aware of anywhere, one that takes a close, hands-on look at how to attack revising a novel. (There are lots of first novel classes out there but they only get you to the first draft.) It's a great combination of lecture and craft work, using the transformation of Trimalchio into The Great Gatsby as its focus. Last year's students loved the course, and I'm looking forward to teaching it again in a few weeks.

You can read a lot more here: http://writers.uclaextension.edu/programs-services/writers-studio/

Andrew Sean Greer reads at Vroman’s tonight

The only thing that could keep me away from Andrew Sean Greer's Pasadena reading this evening is teaching, and unfortunately I have a class tonight.  But otherwise I would make the trek for Greer's only L.A. appearance to hear him read from his latest novel, "The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells."  

I am a longtime fan of Greer's fiction - he was my first author interview here at TEV all those years ago - and I'm eager to crack open the covers on this one.  (We've also appeared together at LAPL ALOUD, and he was kind enough to blurb my first novel.)  

He's an engaging reader, and is very much worth making the trip for.  I hope you'll head out to Pasadena this evening, and support a tremendous novelist and a fine independent bookstore.  What could be better, right?

“No one tells the secrets ...