Talking With Furniture: Authors & Writers


UFR has talked with Pulitzer Prize finalists, Arts Fellows, award-winning musicians, emerging writers, and bestselling authors. Learn about them, learn from them, and check out their work. Read all of these interviews here.


Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is the author of five books of poetry (Dear Future Boyfriend, Hot Teen Slut, Working Class Represent, Oh, Terrible Youth and Everything is Everything) as well as the the author of the nonfiction book, Words In Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam. She founded the three-time National Poetry Slam championship poetry series NYC-Urbana, which is still held weekly at the NYC’s famed Bowery Poetry Club. She is currently serving as the 2010-2011 ArtsEdge Writer-In-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, and was recently awarded a 2011 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. For more information, please visit her website at:

Read our interview with Aptowicz here.


Matt Bell is the author of Cataclysm Babya novella, and How They Were Found, a collection of fiction, as well as three chapbooks, Wolf PartsThe Collectors, and How the Broken Lead the Blind. His fiction has appeared in Conjunctions, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Gulf Coast, Unsaid,and American Short Fiction, and has been selected for inclusion in anthologies such as Best American Mystery Stories 2010 and Best American Fantasy 2. He works as an editor at Dzanc Books, where he also runs the literary magazine The Collagist. In Fall 2011, he began teaching writing at the University of MichiganMore here.

Read our interviews with Bell here and here.


Blake Butler is the author of the novella Ever and the novel-in-stories Scorch Atlas, named Novel of the Year by 3:AM Magazine. He edits HTMLGIANTLamination Colony and No Colony. His writing has appeared in The Believer,UnsaidFence, and Dzanc’s Best of the Web 2009, and has been shortlisted in Best American Nonrequired Readingand widely online and in print. He lives in Atlanta.

Read our interview with Butler here.


Catherine Chung is the author of the novel Forgotten Country, which was published by Riverhead Books in March 2012. She is a Granta New Voice, and the assistant fiction editor of Guernica Magazine. She has taught creative writing at The University of Leipzig and Cornell University, and she currently lives in New York City.

Read our interview with Chung here.


Leah Hager Cohen is the author of four non-fiction books, including Train Go Sorry and Glass, Paper, Beans, and three novels, most recently House Lights. Among the honors her books have received are New York Times Notable Book (four times); American Library Association Ten Best Books of the Year; Toronto Globe and Mail Ten Best Books of the Year; and Booksense 76 Pick. She is also a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review. More at

Read our interview with Cohen here.


Jasper Fforde is the best-selling fantasy author whose books continue to sell, confounding industry analysts. A mixture of Humour, SF, Fantasy, Literature and Crime, his books defy easy pigeonholing. Details of these books and a lot more besides is available from his website, His current book is titled The Last Dragonslayer and is intended for children of all ages.

Read our interview with Fforde here.


Amelia Gray is the author of AM/PM(Featherproof Books) and Museum of the Weird (FC2). Her first novel, THREATS, is due Winter 2012 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. More at

Read our interview with Gray here.


Ben Greenman is the author of Celebrity Chekhov, which has been called “nothing short of brilliant” by Daily Candy. Greenman is an editor at The New Yorker and the author of several acclaimed books of fiction, including SuperbadSuperworse, and A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories About Human Love. His fiction, essays, and journalism have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Paris ReviewZoetrope: All StoryMcSweeney’s, and Opium. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children. More at

Read our interview with Greenman here.


Tom Grimes is the author of five novels, a play, and a memoir. He edited The Workshop: Seven Decades from the Iowa Writers Workshop, the creative writing program from which he graduated. He now directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Texas State University. More at

Read our interview with Grimes here.


Kristin Hersh is a solo artist, as well as lead singer and guitarist for Throwing Musesand 50FOOTWAVE. Her newest album, Crooked, was released as a book. She’s the author of Rat Girl(Penguin, USA) and Paradoxical Undressing (Atlantic Books, UK). More at

Read our interview with Hersh here.


Michael Kimball is the author of four books, including Dear Everybody and, most recently, Us. His work has been on NPR’s All Things Considered and in Vice, as well as The GuardianPrairie Schooner, and New York Tyrant. His books have been translated into a dozen languages—including Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, Korean, and Greek. He is also responsible for Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard), a couple of documentaries, the 510 Readings, and the conceptual pseudonym Andy Devine.

Read our interview with Kimball here.


Paul Lisicky is the author of LawnboyFamous Builder, and the forthcoming books The Burning House (a novel, 2011) and Unbuilt Projects (short prose pieces, 2012). His work has appeared in PloughsharesThe Iowa ReviewFive PointsStoryQuarterlyGulf CoastSeattle ReviewBlack Warrior Review, and has been widely anthologized. He is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, the Henfield Foundation, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he was twice a fellow. He lives in New York City and Springs, New York. He currently teaches at NYU. More at

Read our interview with Lisicky here.


Emily St. John Mandel was born on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York. Her first novel, Last Night in Montreal (Unbridled Books, 2009) was an Indie Next pick and a finalist for ForeWord Magazine‘s 2009 Book of the Year. Her second novel, The Singer’s Gun (Unbridled Books, 2010), was #1 on the Indie Next List for May 2010. She also writes essays, and is a staff writer for The Millions. She is married and lives in Brooklyn. More at

Read our interview with Mandel here.


Ben Marcus is the author of Notable American WomenThe Father Costume, and The Age of Wire and String, and his forthcoming novel, The Flame Alphabet. His writing has appeared in Harper’s,The New YorkerThe Paris ReviewThe BelieverThe New York Times, Salon, McSweeney’sTime,Conjunctions and Tin House. He is the editor of The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and for several years he was the fiction editor of Fence. He has received Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction, and three Pushcart Prizes. You can find him here.

Read our interview with Marcus here.


Kyle Minor is the author of In the Devil’s Territory, a collection of short fiction, and co-editor of The Other Chekhov. His recent work appears in The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Plots with Guns, and in anthologies such as Best American Mystery Stories 2008 Surreal South  and Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers. Random House named Kyle one of the “Best New Voices of 2006,” and The Columbus Dispatch named him one of their ”20 Under 30 Artists to Watch” in 2007. More at

Read our interview with Minor here.


Rick Moody is the author of four novels: Garden StateThe Ice StormPurple America, and The Diviners, as well as three collections of short fiction, The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven, Demonology, and Right Livelihoods. His first novel, Garden State, won the Pushcart Editor’s Choice award, and his memoir, The Black Veil, won the PEN/Martha Albrand award for the Art of the Memoir. Moody’s 1994 novel, The Ice Storm, a bestseller, was made into a feature film of the same name and was directed by Ang Lee. His passion for writing is equally matched by his passion for music. A founding member of The Wingdale Community Singers, Rick also writes about music as a regular contributor to The Rumpus. More at

Read our interview with Moody here.


Tom Perrotta is the author of The Abstinence TeacherLittle ChildrenJoe CollegeElectionThe Wishbones, and Bad Haircut, all of which are critically acclaimed. Cited as being “an American Chekhov whose characters even at their most ridiculous seem blessed and ennobled by a luminous human aura” by the New York Times, Perrotta has also been called the “Steinbeck of Suburbia” by Time. Two of his novels, Election and Little Children, have been turned into films, the latter leading to Perrotta’s nomination for an academy award. More at

Read our interview with Perrotta here.


Dani Shapiro is the bestselling author of the memoirs Devotion and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, The New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, and has been widely anthologized. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, The New School and Wesleyan University, and she is co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. She is a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut. More at

Read our interview with Shapiro here.


Emma Straub is from New York City. Her debut story collection Other People We Married, is forthcoming from FiveChapters Books. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published by The Paris Review DailyBarrelhouseThe Saint Ann’s ReviewCousin Corinne’s Reminder, and many other journals. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband. A more illustrated version of this appears at M + E.

Read our interview with Straub here.


Cheryl Strayed is the author of three books: Wild, a memoir (Knopf, 2012), Tiny Beautiful Things, a selection of her “Dear Sugar” columns from The Rumpus (forthcoming from Vintage, July 2012), and Torch, a novel (Houghton Mifflin, 2006). Wild has been optioned for film by Pacific Standard. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post MagazineVogue,AllureSelfThe Missouri ReviewCreative NonfictionThe Sun and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She’s a founding member of VIDA: Women In Literary Arts, and serves on their board of directors. More at

Read our interview with Strayed here.


Michelle Tea has published five novels, a book of poetry, numerous short stories, hundreds of Bay Area newspaper articles and has edited several anthologies on fashion, class, queer writing and personal narrative. Her novel Valencia won the 2000 Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction, a San Francisco Bay Guardian Goldie Award for Literature, and the prestigious Rona Jaffe Foundation award for early-career female writers. Her writing has also appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best Music Writing and The Believer. More here.

Read our interview with Tea here


Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of 13 books, all of them critically acclaimed. The Devil’s Highway, his 2004 nonfiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prizes. He also won a 1999 American Book Award for his memoir, Nobody’s Son: Notes from an American Life. In 2000, he was voted into the Latino Literature Hall of Fame following the publication of Vatos. Urrea currently lives with his family in Naperville, IL, where he is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago. More at

Read our interview with Urrea here.


Buddy Wakefield is the two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion featured on NPR, the BBC, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and most recently signed to Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. He’s the author of Gentleman Practice and Live for A Living and he tours regularly. More here.

Read our interview with Wakefield here.


Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of three works of short fiction: Her Other MouthsLiberty’s Excess, and Real to Reel, as well as a book of literary criticism, Allegories of Violence. She is also the author of a memoir, The Chronology of Water. Her work has appeared in Ms.The Iowa ReviewFiction InternationalZyzzyva, and elsewhere. Her book Real to Reel was a finalist for the Oregon Book award and she is the recipient of awards and fellowships from Poets and Writers and Literary Arts, Inc. She teaches writing, literature, film, and women’s studies in Oregon. More at .

Read our interview with Yuknavitch here.


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