Mark Slouka: The Powells.com Interview
By Jill Owens July 11, 2013
Mark Slouka is a marvelous essayist, short story writer, and novelist and a frequent Harper's magazine contributor; he's written about everything from Chang and Eng to cyberspace and the nature of reality to why exactly George Bush needed all that brush clearing. His latest novel, Brewster, takes...
Daniel James Brown: The Powells.com Interview
By Shawn Donley June 27, 2013
The Boys in the Boat is one of those stories that I can't believe hasn't been told before. At the 1936 Olympics, nine college students from Seattle — working-class sons of farmers, loggers, and longshoremen — rowed against the best in the world. To compete at this highest level, they...
Susan Nussbaum: The Powells.com Interview
By Heidi Durrow June 14, 2013
Susan Nussbaum's debut novel, winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, is, as Rosellen Brown says, "a celebration of strength, dignity, and the cathartic pleasure of telling it like it is." Set in a nursing home for young adults with disabilities, Good Kings Bad Kings mines...
Matt Bell: The Powells.com Interview
By Jill Owens May 29, 2013
Matt Bell's debut novel is set, as its title suggests, in a remote area next to a lake in a forest. The cast of characters includes a giant bear, a foundling, a fingerling, a woman who can sing whole worlds into being, and her husband, who wants nothing more than to lead a quiet life and —...
Claire Messud: The Powells.com Interview
By Jill Owens May 16, 2013
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,...