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Author News & Interviews

Interview: Francesco Durante, author of Italoamericana: The Literature of the Great Migration, 1880-1943

May 14, 2014

Francesco Durante is a journalist and Professor of Literature at the University of Suor Orsola Benincasa. Robert Viscusi, Ph.D., is Professor of English and executive officer of the Wolfe Institute for the Humanities at Brooklyn College, president of the Italian American Writers Association, novelist, critic and scholar. Between the two of them, they have quite a firm handle on Italian-American literature and culture. Durante curated and edited ITALOAMERICANA, a definitive collection of classic writings on, about and from the formative years of the Italian-American experience; Viscusi edited the American edition, which is now available. In this interview with, the two men discuss the limitations of Gay Talese’s 1993 essay “Where are the Italian-American Writers?”, why newspapers were vital to literary culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and how sometimes vital pieces of history can get lost.

Interview: Nadia Hashimi, author of The Pearl that Broke Its Shell

May 9, 2014

Nadia Hashimi's parents left Afghanistan in the 1970s before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Hashimi visited Afghanistan for the first time. It wasn’t that trip, though --- at least not directly --- that inspired her debut novel, THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL, but an article about the ancient Afghan custom of having girls dress and act like boys until they reach a marriageable age. In this interview with’s Alexis Burling, Hashimi opens up about her childhood as a first-generation American, how impressed she was by her Afghan cousins’ dedication to their education, despite obstacles, and why she feels “somewhat hopeful” for the political and social future of Afghanistan. On a lighter note, she talks about sassy Afghan women and how lucky she feels to have time in her life to be a writer and a pediatrician, in addition to being a mother.

Interview: Kevin O'Brien, author of Tell Me You're Sorry

May 2, 2014

Kevin O’Brien has come a long way since his days as a railroad inspector. Now he’s the bestselling author of 14 internationally published thrillers; his latest, TELL ME YOU’RE SORRY, may be his best to date. In this interview with’s Joe Hartlaub, O'Brien talks about what inspires his thrillers (including movies, nimble editors and metaphorical landladies), constructing his settings from memory, and how his experience as a wannabe screenwriter is elemental to the cinematic scope of his novels. He also explains why he loves throwing in odd details that are familiar to readers (“blasts from the past”) and considers what he would do if someone bought Jeffrey Dahmer’s boyhood home --- recently put on the market --- for him as a gift.

Interview: Pia Padukone, author of Where Earth Meets Water

May 1, 2014

In Pia Padukone’s debut novel, WHERE EARTH MEETS WATER, a man searches for meaning in the wake of incomparable tragedy.’s Alexis Burling talks to Padukone about what she has learned from her first publishing experience and why she is fascinated by other writers’ processes, as well as the important and not-quite-lost art of diary writing. She also considers the difference between the very human states of wanting and needing, how secrets can be both helpful and harmful, and the joy of co-writing a blog with her husband, Two Admirable Pleasures, which combines her two major loves: cooking and reading.

Author Talk: Amanda Vaill, author of Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War

Apr 25, 2014

Amanda Vaill is the author of the bestselling EVERYBODY WAS SO YOUNG, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography, and SOMEWHERE, for which she was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. Her latest book, HOTEL FLORIDA, traces the tangled wartime destinies of three couples against the backdrop of a critical moment in history: the Spanish Civil War. Here, Vaill talks with founder Jesse Kornbluth about her work, researching HOTEL FLORIDA, and the theme that links each of her seemingly dissimilar subjects. She also considers the difficulty of wartime journalism and reflects on how writers --- and people in general --- struggle with honesty in their personal lives.