“Only the moon can judge Indiana. It’s a state that mostly gets ignored, and occasionally ridiculed, by the rest of the country, but no matter. Anyone is welcome to come here and see a reflection of themselves in the unlikeliest places, no matter what any law says.” Adam Fleming Petty on “Writing from the Nowhere State.”
Finalists for the Center For Fiction’s First Novel Prize—including Sophie McManus, Ben Metcalf, Lori Ostlund, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Chigozie Obioma, Tanwi Nandini Islam, and Angela Flournoy—discuss the books that made them the writers they are today. Pair with our own Nick Ripatrazone’s recent article on authors’ favorite childhood books.
What's the greatest tool to create suspense? An unreliable narrator, according to Gillian Flynn, who is a master of them if you've read Gone Girl. She discussed how to write a good thriller, why she doesn't believe in guilty pleasure reading, and her ambitious quest to read every Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in chronological order in a New York Times "By the Book" interview. Pair with: Our conversation about Gone Girl.
Is envy really the worst form of pettiness, as Kierkegaard suggested? Maybe. The great Roman philosopher Cicero had his own, fairly radical thoughts on envy -- namely, that "compassion and envy are consistent in the same man; for whoever is uneasy at any one’s adversity is also uneasy at another’s prosperity."