The memoirist Melissa Febos discusses how an Annie Dillard essay, “Living Like Weasels,” helped refocus her life after overcoming addiction.
Dissecting a line from the author’s story “The Embassy of Cambodia,” Jonathan Lee questions his own myopia as a novelist.
The Lincoln in the Bardo author dissects the Russian writer’s masterful meditations on beauty and sorrow in the short story “Gooseberries,” and explains the importance of questioning your stance while writing.
The veteran author John Rechy discusses the powerful enigma of William Faulkner and the beauty of the unsolved narrative.
Ottessa Moshfegh, the author of the novel Eileen, opens up about coping with depression, how writing saved her life, and finding solace in an overlooked song.
The author Emily Ruskovich discusses the uncanny restraint of Alice Munro and the art of starting a short story.
Highlights from 12 months of interviews with writers about their craft and the authors they love
What the violent suffering in Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot taught the author Laurie Sheck about finding inspiration in torment and illness
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon discusses what he learned about empathy from Borges’s “The Aleph.”
Franz Kafka’s work taught the writer Jonathan Lethem about how to incorporate chaos into narratives.
The novelist Nell Zink discusses the psalm that inspired her, and what she learned about the solitary artistic process from her Catholic upbringing.
The poem “Wild Nights! - Wild Nights!” taught the novelist Emma Donoghue about sexuality, ambiguity, and intimacy.
The novelist and poet Alice Mattison discusses finding inspiration in the unconventional short stories of Grace Paley.
For the writer Mark Haddon, Miles Davis’s seminal jazz album Bitches Brew is a reminder of the beauty and power of challenging works.
Despite critics’ dismissal of activist-minded fiction, the author Lydia Millet believes that Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s book is powerful because of its message, not in spite of it.
The writer Kathryn Harrison believes that words flow best when the opaque, unknowable aspects of the mind take over.
Dostoyevsky taught the writer Charles Bock that inventive writing is the most effective way to conjure reality.
Melissa Broder of So Sad Today finds solace in Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death and in her own creative process.
The author Ethan Canin probes the depths of a single sentence in Saul Bellow’s short story “A Silver Dish.”
Philip Roth taught the author Tony Tulathimutte that writers should aim to show all aspects of their subjects—not only the morally upstanding side.