Sheila Heti Speaks About Awe with Sunny Yudkoff (JP)


In this fantastic recent episode from our colleagues at Novel Dialogue, Sheila Heti sits down with Sunny Yudkoff and John to discuss her incredibly varied oeuvre. She does it all: stories, novels, alphabetized diary entries as well as a series of dialogues in the New Yorker with an AI named Alice.

Drawing on her background in Jewish Studies, Sunny prompts Sheila to unpack the implicit and explicit theology of her recent Pure Colour (Sheila admits she “spent a lot of time thinking about …what God’s pronouns are going to be” )–as well as the protagonist’s temporary transformation into a leaf. The three also explore how life and lifelikeness shape How Should a Person Be. Sheila explains why “auto-fiction” strikes her as a “bad category” and “a lazy way of thinking about what the author is doing formally” since “the history of literature is authors melding their imagination with their lived experience.”

if you enjoyed this Novel Dialogue crossover conversation, you might also check out earlier ones with Joshua Cohen, Charles Yu, Caryl Phillips, Jennifer Egan, Helen Garner and Orhan Pamuk.

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Transcript: 6.6 Overtaken by Awe: Sheila Heti speaks with Sunny Yudkoff

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Elizabeth Ferry and John Plotz

Free-ranging discussion of books from the past that cast a sideways light on today's world. Recall This Book is hosted by Elizabeth Ferry, Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University and John Plotz, Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative.

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