Camille Bordas on Family Secrets

In “The Presentation on Egypt,” your story in this week’s issue, a doctor commits suicide, leaving his family to pick up the pieces. The story focusses on Danielle, his nine-year-old daughter, who grows up under a misapprehension as to how her father died. The first section, the suicide of the father, is such a neat, …

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Lauren Groff on the Animal Ecstasy of Athletics

Your story for this week’s issue, “Brawler,” opens as its protagonist, Sara, arrives at a pool for a swim meet. When you first started thinking about the story, did you know this was where and how we’d meet Sara? I started this story for a visit to Hugo House, in Seattle, where they ask writers …

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Greg Jackson on the Dialogue Between Myth and Reality

Your story in this week’s issue, “Poetry,” begins with a young couple hiking up a volcano on a Caribbean island. There’s something almost mythical about the trials they endure to scale this mountain in the rain—or at least the man, James, seems to feel there is, and later he invents his own myth of the …

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Catherine Lacey on Self-Inflicted Wounds

In “Cut,” your story in this week’s issue, the protagonist, Peggy, develops a mysterious “crotch wound.” There’s an element of body horror to the situation, especially with regard to Peggy being female and the attendant lack of information or answers for her unexplainable “cut-rip-gash.” Were these ideas that you were playing with when you were …

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Te-Ping Chen on the Nihilism of the Internet

In “Lulu,” your story in this week’s issue, a young Chinese man watches his twin sister become increasingly involved in dissident activism—her actions seem to leave him at a loss. Was there a specific idea behind the decision to narrate this story from the brother’s perspective? There’s a certain duality of life in China (and …

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Colson Whitehead on Human Cruelty

“The Match” is adapted from your novel “The Nickel Boys,” which will be published this summer and was inspired by the true story of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, in Marianna, Florida. Can you tell us a bit about that place and what drew you to the story? The Dozier School was a …

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Sally Rooney on Being Seen by Others

Your story in this week’s issue, “Color and Light,” follows Aidan, a young man who works at a seaside hotel, as he meets Pauline, a sophisticated woman who is mostly a mystery to him. How were you thinking about the excitement of the unfamiliar, or of the absence of information, when you were working on …

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Yiyun Li on the Distance Necessary for Stories

Your story “All Will Be Well” takes place, in part, in a hairdressing salon. What kind of encounters does a space like that allow for? There is a story by I. B. Singer, “The Cafeteria,” which I teach often. It’s set partially in a cafeteria in New York, where Yiddish-speaking refugees gather after the war. I’ve …

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