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First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing
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First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing

Author: Mitzi Rapkin

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First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with fiction, non-fiction, essay, and poetry writers. First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing highlights the voices of writers as they discuss their work, their craft, and the literary arts. This weekly show hosted by Mitzi Rapkin is a celebration of creative writing and the individuals who are dedicated to bringing their carefully chosen words to print as well as the impact writers have on the world we live in.

393 Episodes
First Draft - Peter Turchi

First Draft - Peter Turchi


Peter Turchi is the author of seven books and the co-editor of three anthologies. His books include (Don't) Stop Me if You've Heard This Before; A Muse and A Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic; Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer; Suburban Journals: The Sketchbooks, Drawings, and Prints of Charles Ritchie, in collaboration with the artist; a novel, The Girls Next Door; a collection of stories, Magician; and The Pirate Prince, co-written with Cape Cod treasure hunter Barry Clifford, about Clifford’s discovery of the pirate ship Whydah. He has also co-edited, with Andrea Barrett, A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft, The Story Behind the Story: 26 Stories by Contemporary Writers and How They Work and, with Charles Baxter, Bringing the Devil to His Knees: The Craft of Fiction and the Writing Life. He currently teaches at the University of Houston, and in Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Blair Braverman is a writer, adventurer, and long-distance dogsledder who has completed some of the toughest sled dog races in the world. Her non-fiction books include Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube and Dogs on the Trail: A Year in the Life. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Outside magazine and a contributor to The New York Times, This American Life, Vogue, and many other venues. Her third book and debut novel is called Small Game. She lives in northern Wisconsin with her husband, Quince Mountain, and their team of sled dogs, called BraverMountain Mushing.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Stephanie Feldman is the author of the novels Saturnalia and The Angel of Losses, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, winner of the Crawford Fantasy Award, and finalist for the Mythopoeic Award. She is co-editor of the multi-genre anthology Who Will Speak for America? and her stories and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from Asimov’s Science Fiction, Catapult Magazine, Electric Literature, Flash Fiction Online, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Rumpus, Uncharted Magazine, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Weird Horror, and more. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family.     Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jack Driscoll is a two-time NEA Creative Writing Fellowship recipient and the author of twelve books, including the story collections, Wanting Only to Be Heard, winner of the AWP Grace Paley Short Fiction Prize and The World of a Few Minutes Ago, winner of the Society of Midland Authors Award and Michigan Notable Book Award. Driscoll is the founding father of the Interlochen Center for the Arts creative writing department and now teaches in Pacific University’s low-residency MFA program. His new book is called Twenty Stories. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Chris Belcher is a writer, professor, and former sex worker. She completed a PhD in English at the University of Southern California, where she now teaches Gender and Sexuality Studies and in the Writing Program. Under her working name, Natalie West, she edited the acclaimed anthology We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival. Born and raised in West Virginia, she now lives in Los Angeles with her partner and two orange cats. Her memoir is called Pretty Baby. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Chicago-born Peter Orner is the author of two novels: The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and Love and Shame and Love, and three story collections Esther Stories, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, and Maggie Brown & Others. Peter’s essay collection/ memoir, Am I Alone Here? Notes on Reading to Live and Living to Read was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His new collection is called Am I Alone Here? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Namwali Serpell was born in Lusaka, Zambia, and lives in America. Her debut novel, The Old Drift, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction, and the Los Angeles Times's Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction; it was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2019 by the New York Times Book Review and one of Time magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of the Year. Her nonfiction book, Stranger Faces, was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. Her latest novel, The Furrows: An Elegy, was named by Time Magazine as a 100 Must-Read Books of 2022 and is also a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2022. She is currently a professor of English at Harvard. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Elizabeth Strout is the author of the New York Times bestseller Olive Kitteridge, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; the national bestseller Abide with Me; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London. She lives in Maine and New York City. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Morowa Yejidé is a native of Washington, DC, is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Time of the Locust, which was a 2012 finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize, long listed for the 2015 PEN/Bingham Prize, and a 2015 NAACP Image Award nominee. Her most recent novel, Creatures of Passage, was shortlisted for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and a 2021 Notable Book selection by NPR and the Washington Post. She lives in the DC area with her husband and three sons. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Elizabeth McCracken is the author of eight books: Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry, The Giant’s House, Niagara Falls All Over Again, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, Thunderstruck & Other Stories, Bowlaway, The Souvenir Museum and Hero of This Book. She’s received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Liguria Study Center, the American Academy in Berlin, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Thunderstruck & Other Stories won the 2015 Story Prize. Her work has been published in The Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, The O. Henry Prize, The New York Times Magazine, and many other places. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Omer Friedlander was born in Jerusalem in 1994 and grew up in Tel Aviv. He earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Cambridge, England, and an MFA from Boston University, where he was supported by the Saul Bellow Fellowship. His short stories have won numerous awards, and have been published in the United States, Canada, France, and Israel. A Starworks Fellow in Fiction at New York University, he has earned a Bread Loaf Work-Study Scholarship as well as a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. He currently lives in New York City. His short story collection is The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
First Draft - Ross Gay

First Draft - Ross Gay


Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His first collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller. His new collection of essays is called Inciting Joy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Tracy K. Smith is the author of five poetry collections, including Such Color: New and Selected Poems; Wade in the Water, winner of the 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry, and shortlisted for the 2018 T. S. Eliot Prize. Her debut collection, The Body’s Question, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize in 2002. Her second book, Duende, won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her collection Life on Mars won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She also edited the anthology American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Stacey D’Erasmo is the author of five novels and one book of nonfiction. She has been the recipient of a Stegner Fellowship in fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction, and a Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize from Lambda Literary, among other awards. Her essays, features, and reviews have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, the New Yorker, the Boston Review, Bookforum, the New England Review, and Ploughshares, among other publications. She is an associate professor of writing and publishing practices at Fordham University.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
George Saunders is the author of eleven books, including Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for best work of fiction in English, and was a finalist for the Golden Man Booker, in which one Booker winner was selected to represent each decade, from the fifty years since the Prize’s inception. His stories have appeared regularly in The New Yorker since 1992. The short story collection Tenth of December was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won the inaugural Folio Prize in 2013 and the Story Prize. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Andrea Barrett is the author of nine previous works of fiction, including the National Book Award–winning Ship Fever and Pulitzer Prize finalist Servants of the Map. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an NEA Fellowship, as well as a finalist for the Story Prize and a recipient of the Rea Award for the Short Story. Having lived in Rochester, New York, and western Massachusetts, Barrett now resides in the Adirondacks. Her new short story collection is Natural History. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Kevin McIlvoy published six novels: One Kind Favor, A Waltz, Little Peg, Hyssop, At the Gate of All Wonder, and The Fifth Station, as well as two collections of stories, 57 Octaves Below Middle C and The Complete History of New Mexico. His work has appeared in TriQuarterly, Harper’s Magazine, The Collagist, The Southern Review, River City, Ploughshares, and The Missouri Review. He taught in the Department of English at New Mexico University and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He was the editor in chief at Puerto del Sol, the NMSU national literary magazine, for over twenty years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Katie Runde is originally from the Jersey Shore, where her family ran boardwalk businesses. She has lived in Southern California, New York City, and Puerto Rico, and now lives in Iowa City with her husband and two daughters. She holds an MFA from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and attended the Tin House Summer Workshop. Her first novel is called The Shore. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jonathan Escoffery is the author of the linked story collection, If I Survive You, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, a National Book Award Nominee, and an Indie National Bestseller. Jonathan is the winner of The Paris Review’s 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction and is the recipient of a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts (Prose) Literature Fellowship. He is a 2021-2023 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jill Bialosky is a poet, editor, writer, and novelist. Her new poetry collection Asylum: A Personal, Historical, Natural Inquiry in 103 Lyric Sections, was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She is the author of five acclaimed collections of poetry, four critically acclaimed novels, including The Prize, and most recently, The Deceptions, and two memoirs, Poetry Will Save Your Life and New York Times bestselling memoir History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life. She is an Executive Editor and Vice President at W. W. Norton & Company. In 2014 she was honored by the Poetry Society of America for her distinguished contribution to poetry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (1)

David Cox

I have to tell you the first 20 minutes was about a library and not about writing so I turned off and now unsubscribing...not a bad thing. just thought this was a writing podcast

May 3rd
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