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On “Children of the New World”: An Interview with Alexander Weinstein

“Humor helps the heart to open. And heartfelt laughter leads us towards greater connection with those around us. If you can find a way to share humor with others, then there’s an openness towards greater listening and compassion. With the serious topics I write about […] there’s a way such stories can calcify the heart if one isn’t careful. I noticed this in my teaching—if I’m just giving my students the disturbing facts about humanity without humor, it can lead to depression, discouragement, and a deeper political/social apathy. So, humor seems to restore our humanity to us—it allows us to deal with suffering with a more open heart.”

On “The Mothers”: An Interview with Brit Bennett

“Deciding which medium I use to explore an idea comes down to immediacy. If there’s something urgent that I want to think through — the pool essay, for example — I like addressing it through nonfiction. The Internet makes it easy to join a ongoing conversation. Fiction, at least for me, moves much more slowly. The ideas I take on in fiction are usually ideas that I’ve been thinking about for years.”

On “Froelich’s Ladder”: An Interview with Jamie Duclos-Yourdon

“From a plot perspective, each of my characters has the opportunity to help another character, and they all take that opportunity. Now, in order to facilitate those decisions, I had to introduce them to peril. I was fine sticking them in dire situations, knowing that they’d make it through unscathed. Nobody comes off worse than he or she begins.”