Hazlitt talks to the much celebrated Swamplandia! author about outsider art, her latest collection of stories, horror films, and the escapism of writing a novel.
Kirk Heron is a comedian and writer who told me that he would be unfit for my Shelf Esteem column here at Hazlitt because he only keeps one book at home, and it’s a single collected volume of Lord of the Rings. He is perhaps best known as the co-creator and quiz master of Toronto’s most popular weekly trivia night, Brass Facts, but is also a question-writer behind the scenes on the beloved trivial enterprise Cash Cab. The show follows host and cab driver Adam Growe around as he picks up fares in Toronto and quizzes them en route to their destination. Contestants, as you might expect from the name of the show, are given cash for correctly answering each question. Like trivia in general, it’s silly and delightful.
What would you say is the platonic ideal of a trivia question?
I can’t say for sure what type of trivia question Plato would have enjoyed. God, that was a bad joke. I can, however, say that trials have shown that the best trivia question is one that is multi-faceted. Instead of boring and straightforward question like “Who was the King of England in 1767?,” it’s much more fun to ask the same question with more information. A bunch of trivia geeks will know that the King of England during 1767 was George III, but they might not know that he had an affair with a hedge trimmer. I just made that up, of course, but asking “What British monarch had an affair with a hedge trimmer in 1767?” is perfectly confusing.
The author talks to Hazlitt about her new book, The Woman Upstairs, girl-crush relationships, and eating in the bathtub.
The Defector director Ann Shin talks to Hazlitt about the human smugglers who extract people from the DPRK, why so many defectors are women, and where those who leave go next.
The comedian speaks to Hazlitt about his new book, his new TV show, adapting his storytelling style from one medium to the next, and when killing yourself for your art might be the right call.
An interview with Sini Anderson, director of The Punk Singer, a documentary about the riot grrrl icon's life and work.
The first in a new series in which authors and their editors discuss process, publishing, and what went on behind-the-scenes of a new work. First up: Lisa Gabriele, aka L. Marie Adeline, author of S.E.C.R.E.T., dishes with editor Nita Pronovost.
Hazlitt talks with the author of Ghana Must Go about transnationalism, identity, and why we can’t escape our families.
“I am not a Nazi.” With that statement, Sarah Erdreich opens Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, her new book exploring the past, present, and future of the United States abortion landscape and the providers and volunteers who make it their life’s work. Forty years ago, Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal in the United States, despite the objections of some anti-choice activists who portrayed its advocates as ripped right from the Third Reich. But, as Erdreich argues, legal doesn’t necessarily always mean readily available. In recent years, new restrictions and state provisions on reproductive health have made abortion increasingly hard to access and fraught with divisive rhetoric. Since 2011, the United States has seen a marked increase in laws that restrict abortion; most recently, North Dakota passed a bill banning most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Erdreich spoke to Hazlitt about her book, these restrictive new laws, and the need for empathy when dealing with women’s choices.
Few of us can imagine what it’s like to lose almost your entire family unexpectedly in the space of a breath, and be the one who survives. But that’s what happened to Sonali Deraniyagala when a brutal tsunami struck South Asia in 2004. Deraniyagala, author of Wave, talks to Hazlitt about living with disaster.
With a new collection of essays, bank robber, and celebrated author Stephen Reid talks to Hazlitt from his current incarceration about why prisoners write.
Hazlitt talks with former prison librarian Avi Steinberg—author of Running the Books—about the necessity of communication, the future of libraries, and helping inmates find their own voice.
The Oscar Pistorius-Reeva Steenkamp case has demonstrated at least one bad habit of the media: its propensity to take a sensational story in another country and blow it up into a portrait of an entire society. Hazlitt checks in with South African crime writer and former journalist Deon Meyer, author most recently of Seven Days, to get his take on how the case is playing out locally and around the world, providing a much-needed dose of perspective about what the case really means for South Africa.
In Do You Want What I Have Got, co-creators Veda Hille and Richardson have a fashioned an unlikely and entertaining bit of musical theatre from snippets of Craigslist classifieds. Hazlitt speaks with Hille and Richardson during the show's current Toronto run.
George Saunders discusses his new short story collection, Tenth of December, the importance of public artists, and the possibility that fiction makes us better people.
Retail is a largely female profession, and the shopgirl is an enduring—and typically voiceless—archetype. But Jean Rhys's modernist novel, Good Morning, Midnight, probed the darkness of a shopgirl's inner life; and Green Girl by Kate Zambreno picked up where Rhys left off. We spoke with Zambreno (author, most recently, of Heroines), about retail, Rhys, misery, and more.
Patricia Lockwood has been described as “the poet laureate of Twitter” (HTMLGIANT), a godhead of “cartoon tween j/o bait” (Vice), and “completely non-linear,” like a Zooey Deschanel character that does not exist (Connect Savannah). In her own words, she’s a “discursive” nerd-child who “turned funny,” ended up in Georgia by way of the Midwest, and amassed 16,000+ followers for her Twitter oeuvre of cartoon lyricism and surreally unerotic sexts. But she was a poet before she was anybody’s poet laureate, published in places like the Awl, Rattle and The New Yorker, and an unusually autodidactic one; Lockwood, who is now 30, never went to college or enrolled in some creative writing program. Her aesthetic just happened to complement something already taking shape online.
Sasha Issenberg, author of The Victory Lab, talks about the egghead revolution in campaign politics, and explains how interested parties can determine who you're voting for by what car you drive
The experimental filmmaker discusses his latest project, the live-scored We Have An Anchor, plus the disjunctures of time and space as experienced in cinema, and why despite working with bands like Fugazi, R.E.M., and The Ex, he’ll never consider himself a music video director.
The artist and author of Black Hole discusses his latest book, The Hive, plus TinTin, his past as a punk, and forays into performance art. Also: disturbing images, romance comics, and the bizarre but sadly short-lived OK Soda.