Book Fight

We foist a book upon Tom's college roommate, an avowed non-reader. Will he like it? Will he spit it out, like a child being forced to eat spinach? Talking points include: 80s trivia, Sarah Palin, TV Guide Recommends, info-dumps, dystopian futures, The Princess Bride, and videogames.

Direct download: Ep_33-Ernest_Cline_Ready_Player_One.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Heartbreaking church lock-ins, awkward rest stop encounters, and also we answer some questions about writing. How does one find a mentor? Once you get some work accepted, do the rejections lose their sting? And what's the deal with book trailers?

Direct download: WritersAsk_MENTOR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Book Fight road trip! We recorded this episode in a car (Tom's) while driving to the annual Conversations and Connections conference in Washington, D.C. The book this week is Tom's pick, and boy is it a bummer. Though a very well-written, culturally important bummer. We still found stuff to joke about, including bears, Tom's driving skills, tunnels, sharks, and Jay Leno's quest for love and approval. We also talked about the upsides and downsides of allegory, and whether Coetzee's narrator is a creep.

This week's closing music is from Phosphorescent's 2005 album "To Willie," which you can find in the iTunes store.

Direct download: Ep_32_Coetzee_WaitingForTheBarbarians.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

To MFA or not to MFA: that is the question. Also, what's our beef with flash fiction? And how should writers use Twitter and Facebook? Plus Tom burns a bridge, and Mike tries to glean some lessons from past failures.

Direct download: WritersAsk_HurtinFeelingsBurninBridges.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

One of Mike's favorite books, which means if Tom doesn't properly love it Mike might have to punch him. Also: Britishisms, the Middle Ages, academic ambivalence, Jenga, and ballet.

Direct download: Ep_31_Amis_Lucky_Jim.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Rejecting your friends. Dealing with overzealous editors. Plus: Tom's bloody nipples, which magazines we dislike, and what editors do with their urine. For more, visit us at

Direct download: WritersAsk_MakingLemonade.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This book won the 2011 Best Translated Book Award, for which our guest, Matt Jakubowski, was one of the judges. We talk translations, Nordicness, strong female characters, and rabbits. Also, we recommend some music and argue about snacks.

Direct download: Ep_30-Tove_Jansson_The_True_Deceiver.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

How long is too long for a journal or press to read your submission? How much can you get paid for a short story? What are the worst writerly affectations? Talking points include: therapy dogs, AWP, porn scripts, jaunty hats, and writing in coffee shops. Got a question for us? Want to tell us we're wrong? Email us at, or visit Thanks for listening!

Direct download: WritersAsk_TheWaitingGame.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

We're joined by Tod Goldberg and Julia Pistell, of Literary Disco, to talk bedouin poetry tents, writer costumes, Val Kilmer as Mark Twain, and which small presses sound most like metal bands.

Direct download: AWP_Update5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:54am EDT

The results of our panel dare: Tom goes to a 75-minute session on therapy, while Mike explores the connections between history and poetry. 

Direct download: AWP_Update4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:24pm EDT