Truth & Fiction

Emily Schultz hosts our monthly podcast along with producer Brian J Davis. Stream or download our newest episodes on this page. You can also find all our episodes through iTunes here.

A few months ago I interviewed Anna North for this podcast, and the character of her novel, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, got me thinking about the idea of likeability. What we allow female characters to get away with, or not. And what we allow female creators to get away with or not. We realized it was a subject that we could really get into and decided to put a panel talk together along with Chloe Caldwell and Jenny Zhang. And that happened last night at the Strand Bookstore here in New York. The subject apparently touched a nerve because we sold out that room. Some of us had only met ten minutes before we got onstage together, but our experiences, while individual, were coming from the same place, and we had a lot to talk about. (Event photo by Kyle Lucia Wu). Download

Sarah Gerard 's novel Binary Star (Two Dollar Radio) was called "hallucinatory" by NPR and "deeply affecting" by Vanity Fair. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her new chapbook is BFF. Sarah came by our Brooklyn studio to talk with Emily about Florida's wild nature, interviewing your family, and beauty. They also have a candid discussion about anorexia, recovery, and the nature of friendship. Download

Kitchens of the Great Midwest is the debut novel from Los Angeles author J Ryan Stradal and he stopped by our Brooklyn studio while on tour to talk about food, family, Michigan versus Minnesota, and growing up VHS in the 1980s. With near universal acclaim Kitchens of the Great Midwest has become the novel of the summer but Stradal talks about its roots in a story he published on Joyland three years ago as well as his struggle to find a foothold in the lit world. Download

In her new novel, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, Anna North has crafted a portrait of a female artist as complex and relentless on her rise to fame in the film world. North has been a writer and editor at Jezebel, BuzzFeed, and Salon, and is now a staff editor at the New York Times. In this episode Emily talks with her about the ways she’s different from her character, how she came up with the novel’s unique structure, and why you shouldn’t ask for directions from historical reenactors. Download

A year ago, Emily spoke with Julia Fierro in her Brooklyn home about her novel Cutting Teeth, which Entertainment Weekly called “a delicious Big Chill like novel.” It was a great talk. Not just about the book but about anxiety. The writing kind and the kind you struggle to control. Download

Five years ago critic Carl Wilson released a book in the 33 1/3 series, Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste. It was about the best-selling album by Celine Dion and how taste is constructed. Thanks to support from James Franco, the book broke out into the mainstream and now Wilson has released an updated version. Wilson and Truth & Fiction producer Brian Joseph Davis talk about what's changed in the last five years in music and what popularity means now. Brian and host Emily Schultz also discuss the semiotics of her tape collection circa 1992. Download

Megan Stielstra’s book of essays Once I Was Cool is available now from Curbside Splendor Press. Roxane Gay called Stielstra “a masterful essayist, warm and open and wise.” Megan and Emily talk about nonfiction writing versus the freedom of going to the dark places that fiction allows, and what baby monitors say about the human condition. Download

Last year Tamara Faith Berger's third book, Maidenhead, found breakout success with critics and readers. It won the Believer Book Award and was nominated for several others. Tamara’s early novels have also just been reissued by Coach House Press, under the title Little Cat. Though we shared the same city for several years I had only met Tamara once, here in New York, so I was glad I could sit down with her in my hotel room during a trip to Toronto and talk about her work, motherhood and money, why bad writing was the key to Fifty Shades of Gray’s success, and her biopic script about a Canadian new wave icon. Download

When I think about the reason we started this podcast it comes down to one thing: we wanted to meet writers whose work we love. Roxane Gay’s short stories have appeared on Joyland, and in dozens of literary journals. She’s written essays and criticism for the New York Times, Daily Beast, Salon and she was here in New York doing some work on her two upcoming books, An Untamed State for Grove Atlantic and Bad Feminist for Harper Collins. We talked about how much we’ve blocked our parents from reading our writing, why all feminists feel like bad feminists, and what is was like growing up without TV but embracing it later in life. Not to mention what writers can learn from Law & Order. Download

James Greer is an author and screenwriter though many also know him as being a member of Guided By Voices during the mid-1990s. After leaving the band James wrote two stunning, genre-melting novels, Artificial Light and The Failure, both for Dennis Cooper’s Akashic Books imprint. James’s new band, with Guylaine Vivarat, is called Detective and they’re preparing the release of their debut album, Hilarious Heaven, this summer. James has also written several studio comedy films as well as the much-discussed Steven Soderbergh musical about the life of Cleopatra starring Catherine Zeta Jones with songs by Guided by Voices. James told us the inside story of how that film might become a Broadway show, as well as how it is to work day-to-day with Soderbergh. The director, James reveals, does not like to attend rock shows. We also discussed screenwriting versus novels, Joyland’s excessive branding, faking your knowledge of Broadway, and how James needs geographical distance to write. Download

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of the new, stunning novel, Station Eleven, due out for September 9 and available for preorder. She was also brave enough to be the very first guest on our podcast back in March 2013. This is an encore post of that episode, where the gracious Mandel was interviewed by then newbie podcaster Emily Schultz and they talked about the “two Emilys” issue, stealing from Facebook for your writing, being home schooled in the middle of nowhere, and leaving the world of dance for writing. Download