This week on the Sewanee Review podcast, Alice McDermott joins editor Adam Ross to consider the sheer terror of writing a novel. In addition to discussing her short story “Half Spent”—published in our Fall 2021 issue—McDermott and Ross talk through Shakespearian resonances in the twenty-first century, middle-of-the-book syndrome (or M.O.B.S., which, McDermott explains, aptly rhymes with sobs), and reading as a distinctive mode of preserving memory.
Alice McDermott is the author of eight novels, the latest of which is The Ninth Hour. Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Harpers, and elsewhere. Three of her previous novels—After This, At Weddings and Wakes, and That Night—were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. McDermott has also been a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award, the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She is the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.
The Sewanee Review Podcast is recorded in the Ralston Listening Room at the University of the South. This episode is produced by Luke Gair and edited by ProPodcast Solutions with music by Annie Bowers. Don’t miss any of our conversations with some of today’s best writers. Subscribe to the Sewanee Review Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.