Lee Child's street corner. Gary Shteyngart's bed. Joyce Carol Oates's classroom. Roxane Gay's dream house. Billy Collins's New York City. Aimee Mann and Jonathan Coulton's kitchen. Valeria Luiselli's writing desk. Sloane Crosley's conference call. Alain Mabanckou's Department of Human Resources. Jonathan Ames's shrink's office. Jonathan Safran Foer's Genius Bar. Joshua Ferris's America.
What do these places have in common? More than might initially meet the eye. They're the spaces - real or imagined - where thirteen remarkably talented and original voices do their work. These writers, poets, and singer-songwriters come together to give us a guided tour through the places that inspire them. There's mystery here. Dark confessions. Office crushes. Tales of deals made, careers built and broken, and the love and dread and hope of being at work.Everyone works someplace. This group of authors has created a place that is by turns hilarious, illuminating, shocking, wonderful. It might make you cry. It will certainly make you laugh. And you might never see your own office in the same (fluorescent?) light again.
Speaking of Work was commissioned by 92nd Street Y's Unterberg Poetry Center as part of Xerox's Project: SET THE PAGE FREE in support of world literacy.
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About the Author
JONATHAN AMES is the author of the novels You Were Never Really Here (recently adapted into a film starring Joaquin Phoenix), Wake Up, Sir!, The Extra Man, and I Pass Like Night; a graphic novel, The Alcoholic (with artwork by Dean Haspiel); and the essay collections The Double Life Is Twice as Good, I Love You More Than You Know, My Less Than Secret Life, and What’s Not to Love?. He is the editor of Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs and the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is also the creator of the TV series Bored to Death (HBO) and Blunt Talk (Starz).
LEE CHILD is the author of 23 Jack Reacher novels, which have sold more than 100 million copies and been translated into 47 languages. Two of the Reacher series, One Shot and Never Go Back, were adapted into blockbuster films. Prior to his writing career, he worked at Granada Television. Fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring, he saw an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis. Always a voracious reader, he bought six dollars’ worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book. That book was Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series. The Midnight Line, the 23rd Jack Reacher novel, came out in November 2017.
BILLY COLLINS is the author of 12 collections of poetry, including The Rain in Portugal, Aimless Love, Horoscopes for the Dead, Ballistics, and The Trouble with Poetry. A former US Poet Laureate (2001 to 2003) and New York State Poet (2004 to 2006), he is also the editor of Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day and Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds. He is a former Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College and Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. In 2016, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
JONATHAN COULTON is a singer-songwriter whose latest album, Solid State, was released in 2017. His eight albums include his 2003 debut, Smoking Monkey, and Artificial Heart, which reached the Billboard charts. He is currently the one-man house band for the NPR quiz show Ask Me Another.
SLOANE CROSLEY is the author of the essay collections I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number and the novel The Clasp. She is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Interview magazines and has contributed to a variety of anthologies, including The 50 Funniest American Writers: An Anthology of Humor from Mark Twain to The Onion. Her new book of essays, Look Alive Out There, will be published in April 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
JOSHUA FERRIS is the author of the novels Then We Came to the End, The Unnamed, and To Rise Again at a Decent Hour and the short-story collection The Dinner Party. He is the winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the PEN/Hemingway Award and the International Dylan Thomas Prize.
JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER is the author of the novels Everything Is Illuminated, for which he won the Guardian First Book Prize, the National Jewish Book Award and the New York Public Library Young Lions Prize; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; and Here I Am. His works of nonfiction are Eating Animals and New American Haggadah. He adapted the work of Bruno Schulz for the art book Tree of Codes. He teaches creative writing at NYU.
ROXANE GAY is the author of the novel An Untamed State, the story collections Ayiti and Difficult Women, the collection of essays Bad Feminist and the memoir Hunger. She wrote Black Panther: World of Wakanda for Marvel Comics and is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. She is an associate professor of English at Purdue University.
VALERIA LUISELLI is the author of the novels The Story of My Teeth and Faces in the Crowd, for which she won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” Award, and the essay collections Sidewalks and Tell Me How It Ends. Her new novel, The Lost Children Archives, is forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf.
ALAIN MABANCKOU is a novelist, poet and professor of literature at UCLA. His books published in English translation include African Psycho, Blue White Red, Broken Glass, Black Bazaar, Tomorrow I’ll Be Twenty, The Lights of Pointe-Noire, and Black Moses. He was awarded the Renaudot Prize in 2006 and has been nominated twice for the Man Booker International Prize.
AIMEE MANN is an award-winning singer-songwriter whose latest album, Mental Illness, was released in 2017. Her other solo albums include Charmer, @#%&*! Smilers, One More Drifter in the Snow, and The Forgotten Arm. Her song “Save Me,” part of the original music she contributed to the Magnolia soundtrack, earned both Academy Award and Grammy Award nominations. NPR has named her one of the “Top 10 Best Living Songwriters.”
JOYCE CAROL OATES is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short-story collections, poetry, plays, essays and criticism, among them Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, The Lost Landscape: A Writer’s Coming of Age, and A Book of American Martyrs. Among her many honors are the National Humanities Medal, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, the National Book Award, and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Distinguished Professor of the Humanities (Emeritus) at Princeton University.
GARY SHTEYNGART is the author of the memoir Little Failure and the novels Super Sad True Love Story, for which he won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize; Absurdistan; and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, for which he won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. He teaches at Columbia University.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An interesting read about an authors process. I love all the authors who contributed!