Episode 19: Celeste Ng

Author photo by Kevin Day Photography.

Author photo by Kevin Day Photography.

Episode 19

Celeste Ng's new novel, Little Fires Everywhere, is out now from Penguin Press. Celeste grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, won the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the ALA’s Alex Award. She is a 2016 NEA fellow, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Discussed In This Episode

What a good opening should do. Directing and misdirecting the reader. Taking away the scaffolding. Analyzing your own work. Reverse outlining. "At a certain point, the story starts to resonate with itself." Semi-awake thinking. Order and ideals. "I think the fundamental discomfort with people who are different from you is still there." Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED talk, "The Danger of a Single Story." Moving writing from the side to the front. Imposter syndrome. Adding to your brain's card catalog. Perfectionism (and how to fight it). Generating and then letting go. Finding the voice. Leaving yourself notes. "Everybody is figuring out their own route to this magical world of actually getting words on the paper."  

Recommended Reading

Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
I Want to Show You More, Jamie Quatro
Fen: Stories, Daisy Johnson
Half Wild: Stories, Robin MacArthur

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Courtney