Mary Gaitskill and the Life Unseen

By Parul Sehgal, The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 2, 2015 Gaitskill has produced a body of work so acutely observant of human behavior that it’s frequently described in the language of violation: a vivisection, a dental drill, a flogging. There is very rough sex in her books, and characters who binge eat and ripContinue reading “Mary Gaitskill and the Life Unseen”

Drawing Words From the Well of Art: On Ben Lerner and ’10:04′

By Parul Sehgal, The New York Times, Aug. 22, 2014 At the Met, Mr. Lerner stood before “Joan of Arc” so long and talked about it with such intensity that, in the peculiar way of museums, other people became gradually persuaded of its importance. A small crowd gathered. A nun pulled out an expensive-looking camera.Continue reading “Drawing Words From the Well of Art: On Ben Lerner and ’10:04′”

An Interview with Jhumpa Lahiri

By Parul Sehgal, photograph: Liana Miuccio, ELLE India, September 2013 I meet Jhumpa Lahiri in Brooklyn on a hot, blue morning in August. Such is her reputation for reserve that I’m expecting a Bengali Garbo—or at least the woman from her author photo, with hair pulled back severely; wary, light eyes; arms shielding her body.Continue reading “An Interview with Jhumpa Lahiri”

A Conversation with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

By Parul Sehgal, Tin House Summer Issue, 2013 Sinclair Lewis wrote that “every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient, and sterile.” Few writers have so flagrantly flouted these pressures as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the celebrated Nigerian author of Half of a Yellow Sun and The Thing Around Your Neck. Her newContinue reading “A Conversation with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie”

Into the Woods: PW Talks with Arundhati Roy

By Parul Sehgal, Publishers Weekly Sept. 30, 2011 In Walking with the Comrades, novelist and activist Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things) travels into the forest with India’s Maoist indigenous communities at war with the government. How did you earn the guerrillas’ trust? When the Indian government declared war against the Maoists, Indian liberals, for theContinue reading “Into the Woods: PW Talks with Arundhati Roy”

Anne Carson: Evoking the Starry Lad

The Irish Times, March 19, 2011 On Thursday the Canadian poet Anne Carson speaks at the Poetry Now festival. She tells PARUL SEHGAL about her elegy in verse for her late sibling, Michael ‘So, Pinhead, d’you attain wisdom yet?” In 1979 Anne Carson’s brother fled Canada to escape being arrested for dealing drugs. For 22 yearsContinue reading “Anne Carson: Evoking the Starry Lad”

Go East, Young Man

Parul Sehgal, Publishers Weekly, Dec. 6, 2010 It’s been a truth universally acknowledged that a young man in pursuit of his fortune travels West. So in 2008, when Anand Giridharadas, writer of the “Currents” column for the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times online, observed in the Times that not only were India’s best and brightest increasingly likelyContinue reading “Go East, Young Man”

Harlem Revisited: PW Talks with Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts

By Parul Sehgal, Publishers Weekly, Dec 06, 2010 In Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America, Texas transplant and journalist Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts tracks the storied neighborhood in history, literature, and daily life. What was it like living in a place and writing about it at the same time? It was a real conundrum. I’dContinue reading “Harlem Revisited: PW Talks with Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts”

Elif Batuman & The Possessed

Parul Sehgal, Time Out New York / Issue 754 : Mar 11–17, 2010 You’re extremely critical of modern fiction—and particularly of the American short story. Are there contemporary fiction writers you do enjoy? Yes, absolutely! My favorite living writer is Haruki Murakami, which I can’t fully explain, but there it is—I even read and enjoyedContinue reading “Elif Batuman & The Possessed”

An Interview with Eduardo Galeano

Through the Looking Glass: Q & A with Eduardo Galeano by Parul Sehgal, trans. from the Spanish by Mark Fried — Publishers Weekly, 4/27/2009 In Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone, Uruguayan writer Galeano presents miniature narratives of creation myths and current events from all over the world. What inspired this particular project? For years it was growingContinue reading “An Interview with Eduardo Galeano”