Alexie never thought he could leave his reservation to pursue a writing career—but a line written by Adrian C. Louis taught him to venture outside the "reservation of his mind."
Andre Dubus III, author of Dirty Love and The House of Sand and Fog, explains why the best work happens when you "back the fuck off."
His new book translates works by Karl Kraus, whose misgivings toward progress mirror Franzen's belief that technology can be "very harmful" to artistic production.
Author Ron Carlson was an unassuming, baseball-playing college student until a Fitzgerald story turned him into an impassioned English-major library vandal.
Novelist Paul Harding explains what Cheever's short story "The Jewels of the Cabots" taught him about portraying humans' contradictory impulses.
In 1972, Daniel Woodrell traded part of his lunch for a copy of Ernest Hemingway's posthumous novel. After he read it, he became determined to be a writer.
Edwidge Danticat, author of Claire of the Sea Light, believes that "re-creating your entire life is a form of reinvention on par with the greatest works of literature."
Jonathan Franzen, Margaret Atwood, David Gilbert, Roxane Gay, and other writers share their thoughts on what makes an inviting and memorable opening sentence.
The author of horror classics like The Shining and its 2013 sequel Doctor Sleep says the best writers hook their readers with voice, not just action.
The radio host accompanied his friend and collaborator to a dance-company show five months before his death in 2012—and inspired a passage in Rakoff's newly published book.
Hanan Al-Shaykh, author of The Story of Zahra and Beirut Blues, puts new emphasis on the lessons about compassion in Shahrazad's—or Scheherazade's—famous stories.
Cotton Tenants, the long-lost magazine story that led to And Now Let Us Praise Famous Men, finally sees publication—at a time when its message seems more urgent than ever.
The author of All the Dead Yale Men doesn't just tweak when he rewrites—he tries on entirely new points of view and genre styles to learn more about the story he's telling.
Author Peter Orner pays tribute to of one of the past century's great character builders.
Author Jessica Francis Kane explains how the Roman emperor's words about perseverance have helped her career.
The author of The Kite Runner and And the Mountains Echoed touts the introduction of Stephen King's "The Body" as a poignant encapsulation of an author's limitations.
Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon, makes the case.
Author Anthony Marra read new meaning into a line from Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son, years after that line had altered the way Marra thought about writing.
For Pollan, "eating is an agricultural act" offers more insight into how food relates to the world than Thoreau or Emerson's words ever could.
Fiona Maazel, the author of Woke Up Lonely and Last Last Chance, shares her favorite passage from her former teacher Jim Shepard.