Speaking of Work: A Story of Love, Suspense and Paperclips

Speaking of Work: A Story of Love, Suspense and Paperclips

by Bernard SchwartzJonathan Ames Valeria Luiselli and others

Publication Date: 31/01/2018


Lee Child's street corner. Gary Shteyngart's bed. Joyce Carol Oates's classroom. Roxane Gay's dream house. Billy Collins's New York City. Aimee Mann and Jonathan Coulton's kitchen. Valeria Luiselli's writing desk. Sloane Crosley's conference call. Alain Mabanckou's Department of Human Resources. Jonathan Ames's shrink's office. Jonathan Safran Foer's Genius Bar. Joshua Ferris's America.

What do these places have in common? More than might initially meet the eye. They're the spaces - real or imagined - where thirteen remarkably talented and original voices do their work. These writers, poets, and singer-songwriters come together to give us a guided tour through the places that inspire them. There's mystery here. Dark confessions. Office crushes. Tales of deals made, careers built and broken, and the love and dread and hope of being at work.Everyone works someplace. This group of authors has created a place that is by turns hilarious, illuminating, shocking, wonderful. It might make you cry. It will certainly make you laugh. And you might never see your own office in the same (fluorescent?) light again.

Speaking of Work was commissioned by 92nd Street Y's Unterberg Poetry Center as part of Xerox's Project: SET THE PAGE FREE in support of world literacy.

Classic fiction
Publication Date:
Bernard Schwartz
Jonathan Ames

Jonathan Ames is the author of nine books including Wake Up, Sir!, and You Were Never Really Here!, both published by Pushkin Press.

He also created the hit HBO comedy Bored to Death!, starring Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis and Jason Schwartzman, and Blunt Talk!, starring Patrick Stewart.

He has fought in two amateur boxing matches as 'The Herring Wonder'. He lives in Los Angeles.

Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City in 1983. She is the author of the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth, which won the 2016 LA Times Book Prize for Fiction; the essay collection Sidewalks; and Tell Me How It Ends, an essay about the situation faced by children arriving at the US-Mexico border without papers. Lost Children Archive is her first novel written in English.

Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of Everything Is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Eating Animals. He has also edited a new modern edition of the sacred Jewish Haggadah.

He edited the anthology A Convergence of Birds and his stories have been published in the Paris Review, Conjunctions and the New Yorker.

Everything Is Illuminated won the National Jewish Book Award and the Guardian First Book Award. Jonathan Safran Foer teaches Creative Writing at New York University.

Joshua Ferris

Joshua Ferris was born in Illinois in 1974. He attended the University of Iowa and the University of California, Irvine. He now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad in 1972. He is the author of the novels The Russian Debutante's Handbook, Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story, as well as the memoir Little Failure.

He was named one of Granta's Best Young American novelists 2007 and has won the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. He writes regularly for the New Yorker. His new novel, Lake Success, is published by Hamish Hamilton in September 2018.

Lee Child

Lee Child was born in 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended.

He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theatre he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV's "golden age." During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker.

But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars' worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series. Killing Floor was an immediate success and launched the series which has grown in sales and impact with every new instalment.

Lee has three homes - an apartment in Manhattan, a country house in the south of France, and whatever air-plane cabin he happens to be in while travelling between the two. In the US he drives a supercharged Jaguar, which was built in Jaguar's Browns Lane plant, thirty yards from the hospital in which he was born.

Lee spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and watching the Yankees, Aston Villa, or Marseilles soccer. He is married with a grown-up daughter. He is tall and slim, despite an appalling diet and a refusal to exercise.

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction.

She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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