In Conversation

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Following the recent publication of The Sellout, which has been called “among the most important and difficult American novels written in the 21st century,” we asked Paul Beatty to sit down with his editor, Colin Dickerman, and discuss his explosive follow-up to The White Boy Shuffle. He took stock of his influences, the state of Taco Bell, and the process of transforming a shoe box filled with notes into a finished novel.

Love and Lies

In his latest book, Love and Lies, Clancy Martin argues that love requires deception and self-deception. He uses philosophy, literature, and his own life to argue the case. I am his wife, and I wanted to ask him the difficult, scary questions—like what should a married woman do if she has an affair and gets pregnant with the other man’s kid—but in the process I found that we all know the answers to those questions. The answer is: lie. But still, many people, when faced with the situation, are too weak; they tell the truth. So I tried to find a place—still difficult and scary—where I could ask questions that touched on the truth about love and our marriage, and I wasn’t sure what his answers would be. I am his third wife and he’s my first husband, and that’s part of what’s scary, of course. Did I marry a pathological liar?

van den Berg and VanderMeer

After two acclaimed story collections, Laura van den Berg brings us her debut novel, Find Me—an “unforgettable…unique…glorious” (TimeOut New York) tale of a young woman struggling to find her place in a world that has been devastated by a mysterious disease. Here, native Floridians van den Berg and Jeff VanderMeer (author of widely and wildly acclaimed Southern Reach Trilogy) talk about the many ways in which Florida influences their writing, the “daily contact with the surreal,” and the best theme park in the state, Gatorland.

Hans Ulrich Obrist and Marina Abramovic

On November 16th, 2014 the seminal performance artist Marina Abramović and Hans Ulrich Obrist, one of the world’s most influential critics and curators, sat down at McNally Jackson to celebrate the publication of Obrist’s book, Ways of Curating. They discussed the rituals of creativity, night trains, Da Vinci’s sleep cycle, and much, much more.

Marilynne Robinson

On October 17, 2014, Marilynne Robinson and the staff of The Nation had a conversation about writing, Calvinism, and her work, including her new novel, Lila.

Peter Osnos and Evan Osnos

Father and son discuss the difference between writing a book and writing for magazines, the changing journalism landscape, and the technicalities of a family edit.

The Unspeakable

Nearly fifteen years after her debut essay collection, My Misspent Youth, unforgettably captured the anxieties, aspirations, and hypocrisies of a generation, Meghan Daum returns to the personal essay with a masterful collection of previously unpublished work, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion. In these insightful and provocative new essays, Daum pushes back against false sentimentality and manufactured emotion in American life. Here, she talks about the new book, womanhood, and being mercilessly honest in her writing.

Area X

No one ever makes it out of Area X—you know that. Longitude and latitude are just a conspiracy to disguise the facts. There is plenty of fresh air in here, though. I’m still immersed, although sometimes I’m not sure if I’m in Area X or in Southern Reach HQ. Not that it makes a difference. In fact, it’s possible this is still part of the dream that started with me walking down into a tunnel-tower one night. If so, it’s turned out to be kind of a nice dream, in the end.

Deep Down Dark

The thirty-three Chilean miners buried in the Copiapó mine disaster were rescued four years ago this month. When they were still underground, the miners agreed that should they survive, they would only tell their story together, once, to one person. Novelist and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Héctor Tobar wound up being that person. Here, he talks with his editor, Sean McDonald, about his relationships with the miners, and rising to the challenge of telling their story in Deep Down Dark.

Werner Herzog

Winston Churchill said that being shot at unsuccessfully is an exhilarating moment in a man’s life. I was at the top of the Hollywood Hills near my home, recording an interview, when I heard a loud bang. I assumed the camera had exploded because it felt as if I had been hit in the stomach by a chunk of glowing metal, but it was intact. Then, some distance away, I saw a man with a gun, ducking out of sight on a veranda.

Southern Reach

One of the great pleasures of seeing The Southern Reach Trilogy in print has been the ingenuity and sophistication of the foreign language editions. Among the absolute best of the many versions are Destino’s covers for the Spanish editions.

Bulletproof Vest

Bulletproof Vest, Maria Venegas’ debut memoir, tells the haunting story of a daughter’s struggle to confront her father’s turbulent—and often violent—legacy.

Bernard Malamud Centenary

In April 2014, art director Charlotte Strick and typographer Jude Landry gave FSG’s Bernard Malamud library a sharp makeover on the occasion of Malamud’s centenary. Here we reveal the new, soon-to-be-classic covers for the first time, and Charlotte and Jude discuss the ins and outs giving a new look to a true icon of twentieth-century American literature.


Poet-priest Spencer Reece’s long-awaited second collection, The Road to Emmaus, fittingly opens with this epigraph from Isak Dinesen. Reece’s disarmingly straightforward, vulnerable narrative poems are haunted by loss and charged with the effort to preserve the ephemeral, the fleeting.


Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know tells the story of a friendship—and the betrayal of that friendship—set against the backdrop of economic crisis and the war in Afghanistan. Editor Eric Chinski talked with Rahman recently about his debut novel, the power fiction has to explore human psychology, Rahman’s use of epigraphs, and the crucial role that Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem plays in the narrative.

Marvelous Things Overheard

Poet Ange Mlinko has been praised by The New Yorker for writing “intoxicating, cerebral poems [that] display a unique sense of humor and mystery.” She recently caught up with FSG’s Christopher Richards to discuss storytelling, advice for young poets, and just why aging for a poet is like tuberculosis for Keats.

House of Journalists

Tim Finch sat down recently with his editor, Ileene Smith, to discuss flammable prose, meta-fiction, and Orwellian influences. The House of Journalists will be published on September 3rd.

Sjon and Hari Kunzru

A heartfelt introduction by Björk is a hard act to follow. But when Sjón and Hari Kunzru took the stage at Scandinavia House, The Nordic Center in America, they pulled out all the stops…

Authors in Conversation “Americans continue to visit Paris not just for Paris, but for ‘Paris,’” Rosecrans Baldwin, author of Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down, wrote in an email just before Bastille Day. “As if out of some collective nostalgia for what Paris should be, more than what it is.” He was […]

Authors in Conversation “The truth is that if my fiction is rooted in a sense of place, then I’m pretty sure that place is other books,” says Kevin Brockmeier, author most recently of The Illumination. Brockmeier and Brent Hendricks, whose book A Long Day at the End of the World was published by FSG in […]