For my book on mothers & writers I’ve been reading and thinking about the painter Alice Neel (1900-1984). Neel was known for her portraits; she saw herself as a political painter, chronicling her time “using the people as evidence.” She was especially sympathetic to people whose individual humanity has not always been acknowledged in paint: […]

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Best of success to Patrick French, who was chosen by the estate of Doris Lessing to write her biography. From all the work I’ve done on her so far I think she’ll keep a biographer very good company. I’m looking forward to publishing my essay on her in The Baby on the Fire Escape; the story of Lessing’s motherhood is very different from the one you think you know.

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I came late to the fantasy world of Terry Pratchett, and I might never have come there at all if hadn’t been for A.S. Byatt. In 2011 in Amsterdam I interviewed her for Trouw, and afterward we were talking about her book Ragnarok and science fiction when she asked me if I had read Pratchett. […]

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Here, belatedly, are a couple of photos from the talk in Leipzig on “100 Jahre James Tiptree Jr.,” the first event of the Alice Sheldon year. I shared a panel with three of the people involved in publishing the complete works of Alice Sheldon in German: writer and translator Frank Böhmert; translator Elvira Bittner, and […]

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Radio producer Eric Molinsky interviewed me in New York in October for a half-hour podcast on James Tiptree, Jr. At the time I I thought I was brilliant. Listening to it now I think that must have been a jet-lag-induced illusion. But Eric did a terrific job. It makes me wish there were recordings of […]

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Practically everyone I know loves Cloud Atlas except me. David Mitchell’s 2004 novel is ambitious and clever, I can see that, combining six storylines, each written in a very different style, all loosely connected by a shared vision of human weakness and impending (self-)destruction. (Actually, “novel” hardly seems an adequate term for this kind of […]

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