Shoptalk: Kyle Beachy

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Photo by Eden Laurin

Avid skateboarder, David Foster Wallace devotee, and native Midwesterner, the SAIC grad-turned-Roosevelt prof made indie-lit waves with his 2009 coming-of-age debut, “The Slide.”

Where are you based?
I’m in Logan Square along with, it seems, every single student I’ve ever taught.

Your novel, “The Slide,” came out in 2009. What have you been up to since? What are you working on these days?
Well that depends on what you mean by “working.” I’ve been finishing essays that appeared in a few anthologies, plus several smaller fiction things for journals. Read the rest of this entry »

Shoptalk: David Michael Kaplan

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The Loyola prof’s most recent publications have focused on teaching writing (his latest, “Revision,” tackles the art of editing), but that doesn’t mean the “Skating in the Dark” author isn’t cooking up some new fiction of his own.

Where are you based?
In the West Walker area, near Old Irving Park, but I teach fiction writing at Loyola University Chicago.

Your last book was a non-fiction writing guide, “Revision: A Creative Approach to Writing and Rewriting Fiction;” before that, you published a novel, “Skating in the Dark,” and a book of short stories, “Comfort.” What have you been up to since? What are you working on these days?
Since then, I’ve published short stories serially in magazines such as TriQuarterly, DoubleTake, StoryQuarterly, and Five Corners Quarterly, and had some in anthologies such as “The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction.” I also won the Nelson Algren Short Story Award in 1999, and was a runner-up in 2005. I have just finished a novel, “Luna Park,” which I’ve been working on for quite a while, to the short shrifting, alas, of short fiction. Read the rest of this entry »

Shoptalk: Carol Anshaw

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Photo: John Reilly

Novelist (also: journalist, critic, professor, painter) Carol Anshaw has been capturing the complexities of women’s relationships—and relationships in general—since her 1992 debut, “Aquamarine.”

Where are you based?
Andersonville

Your last novel, “Lucky in the Corner,” came out in 2002. What have you been up to since? What are you working on these days?
I have a new novel coming out early next year from Simon & Schuster, “Carry the One.” I worked hard for a long time on this book; it’s more complex than anything I’ve done before. I also have a deeply Chicago story coming out in the next issue of New Ohio Review [NOR]. What I’m working on now is the beginnings of a novel, “The Map of Allowed Wandering.” Read the rest of this entry »

Shoptalk: Audrey Niffenegger

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With “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (2003), Audrey Niffenegger went from hand-bound chapbooks to the best seller list. Since then, Evanston’s favorite writer/painter/graphic novelist has been taking the (multi)media world by storm.


You published your second novel, “Her Fearful Symmetry,” in 2009, and your serialized graphic novel, “The Night Bookmobile,” came out this past fall. What are you working on these days?
A ballet (I am making the story, costume and set designs and a friend is choreographing), a screenplay (based on “Her Fearful Symmetry”) and a new novel (“The Chinchilla Girl in Exile”). I am also in the early stages of a retrospective of my artists books and artwork, planned for 2013 in Washington DC.

You’re on the faculty at Columbia. What’s your approach to teaching writing? If your students walk away from your classes with one thing, what do you want that thing to be? Read the rest of this entry »

Shoptalk: Bayo Ojikutu

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As the bard of the South Side, Bayo Ojikutu’s been writing Chicago since his debut novel, “47th Street Black.”

Where are you based?
The family and I live on the Hyde Park/Woodlawn border. Just south of the Midway; just north of 63rd Street. My son and I are sitting on the Midway right now—looking south. I suppose that we live right in the shadow of the U of C’s newest, sparkling glass, state-of-the-art high-rise dormitory.

You finished “Free Burning” in 2006, and then spent some time focusing on shorter fiction, including the Pushcart-noted “Yayi and Those Who Walk on Water: A Fable.” What are you up to these days? What are you working on?
I’m currently working on one short work and my third novel. Read the rest of this entry »

Shoptalk: Jonathan Eig

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Jonathan Eig, Wall Street Journalist, Chicago magazine columnist, and best-selling author, most recently took on the legacy of the city’s most notorious gangster with “Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster.”

Where are you based?
Lakeview.

“Get Capone” came out last year. What are you up to these days? What are you working on?
I’m making revisions (possibly endless) on a novel called “American Grill” that’s set in Chicago—specifically at the corner of Rogers and Sheridan, in the building once occupied by Biddy Mulligans.

You’ve been on the faculty at Columbia and lectured at Northwestern. What’s your approach to teaching writing? If your students walk away from your classes with one thing, what do you want that thing to be?
That I’m really, really mean. Also to get the fat out of their sentences.

Take me through your daily writing routine—do you work on a set schedule, X words/pages/hours a day, or do you binge-write when inspiration strikes? From home, the library, a coffee shop, a “space”?
I can write fiction anywhere, although it’s not yet clear to me that I can write it well. For non-fiction, I have to be in my office, which is in my home, in a converted laundry room, surrounded by mountains of books and papers. Read the rest of this entry »