Jenny Offill and Jia Tolentino on Being Doomers at the Dinner Party

At the virtual Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival, Trick Mirror author Jia Tolentino interviewed Jenny Offill about research, writing, climate change, and her latest novel, Weather. The conversation is thrilling, in part because they pause to celebrate the just-announced election results, but also because the two writers and their sense of curiosity are so well matched. On the topic of incorporating facts into her fiction, Offill said, “The reason I put so many facts that are interesting to me in books is because I don’t actually remember things unless I write them down and try to put them in my own words. If I don’t want to forget that antelopes have 10x vision and can see the rings of Saturn, I think, okay, I’m going to find a place for this.” She also explained that writing about climate change helped ease her anxiety, at least momentarily: “Because I was writing and because I was thinking these things through, I actually became less doom-laden; I think I had a place to put it, I didn’t necessarily need to be the Ancient Mariner telling people my story in the streets. I would talk the most when I was not writing.”

is always reading. She works for Brooklyn Public Library and blogs about books at

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