Monday, March 23, 2009

Guest-blogger Nate Martin on Stop Smiling's Top 5 Author Interviews

Stop Smiling is an art and culture magazine based out of Chicago and New York which in the words of editor Nate Martin, "harkens back to the golden age of magazine publishing--- think 70s-era Esquire--- with plenty of long-form interviews... It's also the favorite magazine of Slate media critic Jack Shafer." Stop Smiling #38 features, count 'em, 20 interviews. Stop Smiling? Why? (Aside from the global economic crisis and yesterday's opening of the baby seal slaughter season, I mean...) Apparently, the title of the on-line journal Stop Smiling doesn't mean anything. Certainly, most of the writers interviewed in Stop Smiling are not smiling (but less in an oh-my-god-what-atrocious-fate-has-befallen-us-all-now than in a know-ye-that-I-am-a-profound-artist kind of way). Herewith Stop Smiling's Publishing Associate Nate Martin's 5 favorite author interviews:

1. Islands Apart: Junot Díaz
From the current issue, 20 Interviews, our interview with the author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao presents his thoughts on hip hop, his homeland, The Dominican Republic, and adapting novels to film, as the movie rights to his Pulitzer Prize-winning book were recently sold to Miramax.

2. Q & A with Studs Terkel
No Chicago Issue would be complete without an interview with Studs Terkel, the prolific oral historian who was "as much a part of Chicago as the Sears Tower and Al Capone," as a BBC journalist once remarked. In the online excerpt, Studs regales us ith his experiences among Chicago writers like Nelson Algren and Saul Bellow.

3. The Melancholia of Everything Completed: Kurt Vonnegut
The Stop Smiling Ode to the Midwest issue features what, sadly, urned out to be one of the last interviews that Vonnegut ever provided. Extensive in itself, it is only part of an 18-page Vonnegut spread that is available in the
print edition.

4. Citizen Dave: Dave Eggers
Though intrinsically tied to his adopted home, San Francisco, where he launched what has become one of the most vibrant contemporary lifelines between young people and literature, his multi-faceted publishing house, McSweeney's, Eggers' interview in Ode to the Midwest gave the author a chance to discuss how his Midwestern roots shaped much of what has become of his life to this point.

5. DC Confidential: George Pelecanos
No one expresses the true Washington DC like lifelong native George Pelecanos, whose dozen-plus novels set in and around the city show the progression of its gritty underbelly across decades step by harrowing step. From the Stop Smiling DC Issue.

--- Nate Martin
---> For the archive of Madam Mayo guest-blog posts, click here.