A peek into how great writers conjure and craft their work. From creative rituals to guilty distractions...what it takes to get pen to paper. Hosted by Virginia Prescott.More from 10 Minute Writer's Workshop »
Mario Batali is a superstar chef, restaurateur, television star and passionate advocate for simple, regional food. Also passionate about making that food more accessible, he is author or co-author of 7 cookbooks, including his most recent Big American Cookbook. We caught up with him before his appearance at The Music Hall for Writers on a New England Stage and asked him if his cookbook ideas pop up like a timer or simmer below the surface for a while. Episode music by Jahzzar Ad music by Uncanny Valleys This episode sponsored by Blue Apron - use code 10minute for three free chef-inspired meals Bonus! Vladimir Nabokov's egg-boiling instructions, as sent to Maxime de la Falaise for her cooking book in 1972: "Boil water in a saucepan (bubbles mean it is boiling!). Take two eggs (for one person) out of the refrigerator. Hold them under the hot tap water to make them ready for what awaits them. Place each in a pan, one after the other, and let them slip soundlessly into the (boiling) water. Consult your wristwatch. Stand over them with a spoon preventing them (they are apt to roll) from knocking against the damned side of the pan. If, however, an egg cracks in the water (now bubbling like mad) and starts to disgorge a cloud of white stuff like a medium in an old fashioned seance, fish it out and throw it away. Take another and be more careful. After 200 seconds have passed, or, say, 240 (taking interruptions into account), start scooping the eggs out. Place them, round end up, in two egg cups. With a small spoon tap-tap in a circle and hen pry open the lid of the shell. Have some salt and buttered bread (white) ready. Eat. V.N. November 18, 1972"
Lindy West, columnist for The Guardian, and author of How to be a Person and Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman. Lindy writes about feminism, social justice, body image, pop culture and, lately, politics. She's a funny and original thinker, and brave. She's been a contributor on several memorable episodes of This American Life - one on "coming out" as fat, another about confronting an internet troll, one of hundreds who'd harassed her online. She's got a bunch of balls in the air - TV and movie projects, an idea for a podcast - but we honed in on the demands of being a columnist. Episode music by Ari de Niro Ad music by Uncanny Valleys
Victoria Schwab... VE Schwab... V... the author's name depends on her audience, which, like the dark worlds she builds, is a well-thought out design. Ms. Schwab, we'll say, burst onto the scene in 2011 with The Near Witch. A dozen books later, adult, young adult and middle grade readers have followed her into supernatural worlds, sinister scenarios and richly formed fantasy worlds. A self-described pagan, Victoria managed to survive a happy, independent childhood, with a morbid streak. "I definitely hung my teddy bears from the stair railing, execution-style," she told Book Page. That slightly twisted imagination has served her well, and she continues to build speculative worlds and cutthroat characters that probe the human capacity to be monstrous to each other - and to the natural world. Her newest novel, A Conjuring of Light, is part three and the culmination of the Shades of Magic fantasy series. We reached her at her home in Nashville via Skype.
Ottessa Moshfegh says she writes to explore why people do weird things. The daughter of a Croatian mother and Iranian father, she was a serious piano student who knew she didn't want to be a pianist when she felt the call to write - and not just write, but be bold. We spoke to her before her reading at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass. Episode Music: Kevin MacLeod, "Trio for Piano, Violin and Viola" Credit Music: Uncanny Valleys, "Curious or Disconcerting"
Caitlin Moran is the best-selling author of How to Be a Woman, Moranthology, and columnist for the Times of London. She and her sister developed and write 'raised by wolves" --a British television series loosely based on their experience in a family of ten growing up in a tiny subsidized flat in the English midlands. She is also a mother of two, an unapologetic feminist, and really, really funny. Caitlin Moran is now out with Moranifesto, her second collection of columns and essays. The Harvard Book Store sponsored her event at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We caught up with her before she went on stage. She was warm and playful and not at all anxious about going on stage - or writing. Episode Music: "American Weirdos" by Hurry Up Ad Music: "Joy in the Restaurant" by David Szesztay
Jonathan Lethem is the best-selling author of Gun, with Occasional Music, Fortress of Solitude, and other novels, including the Naitonal Book Critics' Circle award-winning Motherless Brooklyn. He's known for reanimating and remixing genres - hard-boiled crime novels, post-apocalyptic science fiction, superhero comics and even technicolor westerns. His most recent novel is called A Gambler's Anatomy. It's about a high-stakes competitive backgammon player and con artist - a character who, like Lethem, was raised in the bohemian Brooklyn of the 1970s. Episode music: "Crate Diggin" by Ari de Niro Ad music: "Joy in the Restaurant" by David Szesztay
'In Maine, when we say something is "wicked good" – we really mean it.' That's how LL Bean describes their Wicked Good Slippers, and how we describe Jeff Ryan, who for decades wrote Bean's catalog copy. We spoke to him about finding the story in everyday objects and the tricks of the trade when it comes to copy writing. Jeff Ryan is also the author of Appalachian Odyssey, a memoir of hiking the Appalachian Trail, bit by bit, over 28 years. Episode music: "Auld Lang Syne" by Podington Bear Credit music: "Joy in the Restaurant" by David Szesztay
Irish author Emma Donoghue may be best known for Room, her novel written in the voice of a young boy confined with his mother in a single room. It was nominated for a Man Booker prize and made into an Oscar-winning film, for which she wrote the screenplay. Her most recent novel is The Wonder, about a "fasting girl" in 1850s Ireland. Music: Podington Bear - "Evenhanded" Ad Music: David Szesztay - "Joy in the Restaurant"
Tom Gauld — a cartoonist, illustrator of comics and covers for the New Yorker and The Believer. His weekly cartoon about the arts for The Guardian newspaper is a wry, often deadpan favorite among writers. He is extremely prolific, author of more than a dozen books of comics, including You're Just Jealous of My Jetpack and most recently Mooncop. The lunar cop is perfectly Gauldian character - doesn't say much, spends a lot of time walking the barren landscape, is pretty lonesome and quaint. Virginia met with Tom before his talk at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just an hour's drive from our studio. The challenge was finding a quiet spot to record in Harvard square...at rush hour. Music: "Feeding Pigeons" - Poddington Bear Ad Music: "Joy in the Restaurant" - David Szesztay
A Pulitzer-Prize nominee, Guggenheim fellow, and winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant, Colson Whitehead's new book, The Underground Railroad, was one of the most anticipated works of fiction this year. Virginia caught up with him backstage at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire before a reading with novelist Ben Winters hosted of Gibson's Bookstore.