Claire Messud: The Powells.com Interview
By Jill Owens Yesterday, 2:00pm
Claire Messud's new novel, The Woman Upstairs, is fiercely intelligent and urgently intimate, written with precision, humor, and an incredible command of language. Nora Eldridge, an elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is living a life of quiet desperation after her mother's...
Anthony Marra: The Powells.com Interview
By Jill Owens April 22, 2013
Anthony Marra's debut novel is a marvel. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena describes, in astonishingly beautiful prose, five days in a rural village and bombed-out hospital in Chechnya during wartime. As the characters — including a doctor, a hunted child, a historian, and an informant...
Domenica Ruta: The Powells.com Interview
By Jill Owens February 26, 2013
Growing up in an Italian-American family in Danvers, Massachusetts, Domenica Ruta had a life filled with violence and poverty but also imagination and love. Ruta's mother, Kathi, who "believed it was more important to be an interesting person than it was to be a good one," cycled between welfare...
George Saunders: The Powells.com Interview
By Jill Owens February 12, 2013
George Saunders fans have long been stalwart champions of his work, recommending CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia to anyone who would listen, pushing copies of In Persuasion Nation and The Braindead Megaphone into the hands of the unconverted. He's always had critical praise, from no...
Whitney Otto: The Powells.com Interview
By C. P. Farley January 30, 2013
As a writer, Whitney Otto is a democrat. Her tendency is to tell a story through a plurality of voices, to refract her narrative through a prism of perspectives. This is most obvious in her bestselling first novel, How to Make an American Quilt, whose central metaphor is literally a collection of...
Lisa O'Donnell: The Powells.com Interview
By Jill Owens December 31, 2012
"Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved." Those dramatic first lines of Lisa O'Donnell's debut novel, The Death of Bees, launch the story of two sisters, 15-year-old Marnie and 12-year-old Nelly,...
Matthew Dickman: The Powells.com Interview
By Jill Owens November 13, 2012
Matthew Dickman is a very unusual creature: a famous poet, at least here in Portland. At his Powell's reading on October 1, he drew over 200 people for a standing-room-only crowd. He's a local — he grew up in Southeast Portland (as did his twin brother, Michael, who is also an award-winning...
Roger Gaetani: The Powells.com Interview
By Chris Faatz November 1, 2012
Roger Gaetani is an editor, writer, and educator who lives in Bloomington, Indiana. He serves as the vice president for World Wisdom, an independent publishing company focused on religious and philosophical texts. With Jean-Louis Michon, he edited the World Wisdom anthology on Sufism, Sufism: Love...
Steven Johnson: The Powells.com Interview
By C. P. Farley October 2, 2012
In a 2003 TED Talk, Steven Johnson quipped: "Who decides that SoHo should have this personality and that the Latin Quarter should have that personality? There are some kind of executive decisions, but mostly the answer is, everybody and nobody." A running theme through Johnson's work is that...
J. Robert Lennon: The Powells.com Interview
By Jill Owens September 17, 2012
J. Robert Lennon's first book, The Light of Falling Stars, got a glowing review from the New Yorker: "Lennon's impressive first novel — psychologically nuanced, richly detailed, unexpectedly comic — offers us an unsentimental examination of the ways in which we find and lose those we...