Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


Episode 127: Spring of Success, Donald Ray Pollock (“Bactine”)

This week we’re talking about an unconventional literary success story. Donald Ray Pollock quit his job of 30 years at a paper mill, determined to give writing a go. If he didn’t make it after five years, he figured, he could always go back. Instead he wound up getting an MFA at Ohio State University, and a book deal for his first collection of stories, Knockemstiff, a fictionalized account of a real place in southern Ohio. He’s since published a novel, The Devil All the Time.

Here’s the author chilling on his front porch like a boss:


In the second half of the show, we talk about the proliferation of those “20 under 40”-style lists in the literary world, and why we’re so obsessed with youth.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file. Or check us out in the iTunes store, or wherever you get your podcasts, where you can subscribe (for free!) and never miss another episode.

And if you want to check out Tom’s recent travel essays on his newly revamped site, you can go here.

Thanks for listening!


Download Episode 127 (right-click, save-as)