Posted in: 2023

235. The Professor, the Curious Podcaster, and the Best Novel Ever Written

My guest on today’s episode is Professor Stephen Blackwell, who teaches at the University of Tennessee Knoxville in the US. His scholarship focuses on the work of the great Russian-born writer, Vladimir Nabokov, who spent much of his life in the United States and died in 1977 in Switzerland. Professor Blackwell was kind enough to indulge me in a discussion of a novel that Nabokov published in 1962, called Pale Fire. I have of course read only a tiny percentage of all the books written and a tiny percentage of all the literary fiction ever written, but for me this is the best work of the art of literary fiction I have ever read. I can’t even imagine anything being better. And please especially take a look at the show notes for this episode, where I include mention of some of the modern references to Nabokov that I forgot to ask about during our conversation.

Prof. Blackwell’s Profile

Pale Fire (1st ed.)

Pale Fire and Nabokov These Days: Modern References

  • The album Lolita Nation by Game Theory, led by the late Scott Miller (“the album is a masterpiece, by the way, and the artist is on Nabokov’s level”)
  • Other bands and artists with Nabokovian titles: Picnic, Lightning; White Widowed Male; Pale Fire
  • Molly Young, “The Essential Vladimir Nabokov,” New York Times, October 15, 2023
  • Pale Fire shows up in Blade Runner 2049
Posted in: 2023

212. Writing Across Genres in Fiction and Non

My guest today is Natasha Tynes. She is a Jordanian-American author and communications professional based in Washington, DC, and also hosts her own podcast as well. We talk about the various genres she works in, including They Called Me Wyatt, which she describes as a “speculative literary novel,” and also about her writing process.


Natasha's Website

Posted in: 2023

186. This Is What I Mean by Literary Fiction

I’m solo today and this episode is a kind of prequel. I’m going to be interviewing the great American writer Lorrie Moore in a few weeks about her new novel, I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home, due to be published later this month. I’ve been a lifelong fan of her work, and in this episode I will give an overview of her past works, and my views on what it is about her books and her style that makes her exceptional. The title of this episode is “This Is What I Mean by Literary Fiction,” number 186 of the podcast.

Loorie Moore’s Amazon Author Page

Lorrie Moore’s First Published Story in “Seventeen” Magazine (1977)
(scroll to page 92) 

Posted in: 2023

156. Bringing Literary Fiction to Readers

My guest is Frances Peck, who was an editor and ghostwriter for 30 years, but last year began her career as a novelist, with The Broken Places, published by NeWest Press. The novel received much praise and excellent reviews. Her second novel will be published later this year. We talk a little about ghostwriting, but mostly about her novel, how she engages with book clubs, and about literary fiction generally.

Frances Peck’s Site

NeWest Press