Saturday Oct 21

SusanStraight Susan Straight has published seven novels: Aquaboogie (Milkweed Editions, 1990), I Been In Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked Out All The Pots (Hyperion, 1992, Anchor paperback, 1993),  which was named one of the best novels of 1992 by both USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly, as well as named a Notable Book by the New York Times, Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights (Hyperion, 1994, Anchor paperback 1995), The Gettin Place (Hyperion 1996, Anchor paperback 1997), Highwire Moon (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), A Million Nightingales (Pantheon, 2006), and her most recent novel, Take One Candle Light A Room (Pantheon, 2010). Highwire Moon was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Commonwealth of California Gold Medal for Fiction.  Highwire Moon was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and Los Angeles Times bestseller, and was named one of the year’s best novels by The San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post. Highwire Moon was released in paperback by Anchor Books in October, 2002.  It was optioned for film by Little Monument Pictures in 2002, and is in development.  Her last novel, A Million Nightingales, was published by Pantheon in March 2006, and was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller.  It was a finalist for the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2006 Southern California Booksellers’ Award.  It was released in paperback May 2007.  Her first middle grade reader, The Friskative Dog, was published by Knopf in March 2007. The book features characters from the previous novels, and is set in Los Angeles, Rio Seco, and Louisiana during August 2005. In November 2007, Straight received The Lannan Award for Fiction, for her body of work.  In 1998, she received a Guggenheim for Fiction. She has published essays and articles in numerous magazines and journals, such as The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine (now WEST), Harpers, The Believer, The Nation, Organic Style, Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, Family Circle, Salon, Oxford American, Ms. and The Ruminator Review. Her short fiction has appeared in Zoetrope All-Story, McSweeney’s, Black Clock, TriQuarterly, Story, Ploughshares, The Ontario Review, and North American Review, among other magazines.  Her short story “The Golden Gopher,” published in Los Angeles Noir, won the 2008 Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America.  Her short story “El Ojo De Agua” was chosen for the 2007 O Henry Prize collection, and was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2007.  “Mines” was chosen for Best American Short Stories 2003 and won a Pushcart Prize in Fiction.  “Bridgework” was a Distinguished Story in Best American Short Stories 2004. Her commentaries are frequently heard on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. She was born in Riverside, California in 1960, and still lives there with her three daughters.  She has taught creative writing at University of California, Riverside, since 1988.  She received the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008.
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Susan Straight interview with Ken Robidoux


On December 12, 2010 at Wellness Park in Palm Springs, California, under less-than optimal camera conditions, I had the absolute privilege of sitting down to chat with author Susan Straight on the recent release of her newest novel, Take One Candle Light A Room (Pantheon Books). Fiercely brilliant, fearless, no excuses and tough as a prize fighter, Ms. Straight is a joy to speak with and creates a nearly palpable sensation of “why am I not doing more with my art” in me every time we talk. In the following interview, we discuss her new book, her writing process, how she gathers stories from nearly everyone she meets, the absurdity of labels, and Oprah Winfrey. Thanks go out to Noel Mariano, Brian Oglesby, & Jackie Bang for sending in some very interesting questions; the City of Palm Springs, California; Pantheon Books; Alan Jaskiewicz, and of course Ms. Susan Straight. Included in this post are the opening pages of Take One Candle Light A Room. Enjoy!
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Susan Straight Interview, 12-12-10 from Connotation Press on Vimeo.


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Follow this link to Amazon.com to purchase Susan Straight's new novel, Take One Candle Light A Room


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