Jess Walter on Writing About Hope (Without Losing His Literary Cool)
From Micro, a Podcast for Short But Powerful Writing
This episode is part of an interview series for Miami Book Fair, where members of Team Micro interview authors appearing at the fair about their work. For more information about MBF’s programming and to check out the incredible roster of authors appearing this year, visit miamibookfair.com. And be sure to follow them at @miamibookfair and #MBF2022 for more updates.
In this episode of Micro, Drew Hawkins talks to Jess Walter about his new book, The Angel of Rome: And Other Stories.
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From the episode:
I wanted to write stories to see if it was possible, without violating my literary principles, to find some hope. When I looked back, the stories I chose, they don’t have happy endings by any means. But they do look for a measure of hope in what I think is a difficult time for people. And to ask yourself, can you do that without blowing all of your literary cool?
It’s like you were in a punk band, and now you want to write melodies and longer songs, and maybe even have a bridge and maybe move people. For me, that’s what made the collection cohere. But I don’t think I was writing them thinking “this will be a collection about hope.”
Micro is edited and curated by Dylan Evers and produced and hosted by Drew Hawkins. Theme song is by Matt Ordes. Follow the show on Twitter at @podcastmicro.
A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the best-selling author of seven novels, two book of short stories and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into 34 languages, and his fiction has been selected three times for Best American Short Stories, as well as the Pushcart Prize and Best American Nonrequired Reading. His stories, essays and journalism have appeared in, Harper’s, Esquire, Playboy, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Ploughshares, the New York Times, the Washington Post and many others.
Drew Hawkins is a writer and journalist in New Orleans. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Scalawag Magazine, Southerly, No Contact, Rejection Letters, HAD, and other publications. You can follow him on Twitter at @WAdrewhawkins.