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A Word About Writing: One Author, Seven Questions

An Interview with Rebecca Makkai, by Evan Allgood

Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai’s second novel, The Hundred-Year House, is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery, a comedy, a drama, and (rarest of genres) a well-written page-turner. It traces the history of a spooky literary estate named Laurelfield; as the reader moves forward through the book, he or she moves backward in time, from 1999 to 1955, then to 1929 and 1900. (The first three sections read like novellas; the last is a brief epilogue.) I spoke to Makkai about that counterintuitive structure, the differences between writing her first and second novels, and which book she’s reread the most.

You say in the Acknowledgments that The Hundred-Year House “started as a short story about male anorexia. I have no idea what the hell happened.” Well, what the hell happened?

I already said I have no idea! Here’s what I can reconstruct: I wrote a short story called “Gatehouse” somewhere around 2004, and it was about two couples crammed together in the coach house of a large estate. One of the men was anorexic, and the other man was the only one who noticed, but no one would listen to him. I put the story aside for a long... Read more

In the Telling

Kyle McCord

In our latest installment of the In the Telling series, listen to Kyle McCord read two poems that appear in Issue 13: The Unknown.    Kyle McCord is the author of three books of poetry: Galley of the Beloved in Torment (Dream Horse Press, 2009), a co-written book of epistolary poems entitled Informal Invitations to a... Read more

Encounters in Publishing

#55: Behind the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with literary agent Carrie Howland by Maria Gagliano

Few things are more stressful for writers than the perplexing process of pitching agents. It’s hard to know when your work is ready to submit, which moves are damaging and which are helpful, and where agents are even looking for clients these days. We chatted with literary agent Carrie Howland about what she looks for when scouting debut authors. You... Read more

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