As one of today’s featured authors is a celebrated sports blogger, it seems appropriate to begin by quoting legendary Chicago Cub Ernie Banks, “Let’s Play Two!” Indeed, it’s a doubleheader today. First off, co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf talk with Ben Marcus about his new collection, Notes from the Fog. Medaya posits what she sees as a recurring theme in the stories, “Can we really know the people closest to us?” What follows is a fascinating series of reflections on child rearing, the banality of death, surreal realism, what makes a narrative compelling, and how Trump is undermining contemporary fiction.
Then guest host Evan Kindley talks with Brian Phillips, one of our most celebrated non-fiction writers, about his new collection, Impossible Owls. While Brian initially gained notoriety and a huge fan base on the beloved-but-now-defunct Grantland website, which featured quality writing on sports, and delighted millions with his puckish Tweets during the men’s World Cup, he has now established himself as a master of long form reporting that is indistinguishable from the literary essay, through which he bares witness to our contemporary moment. In conversation with Evan, Brian opens up about his unorthodox career and inspired approach to his often-quirky subjects.