Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

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Episode 44: Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper

This week we welcome back Justin St. Germain, author of the memoir Son of a Gun (click on that link to buy his book from Powell’s) and picker of this week’s book, a novel that’s largely about writing a novel, and which lots of smart people have called genius. We talk about metafiction, audience, and the sorts of books that can bring on writerly paralysis.


Thanks to everyone who came out to the Barrelhouse Conversations and Connections writing conference this past weekend in Philadelphia. It was great to meet lots of new people and see so many familiar faces. If you missed the conference, we’ll be doing it again in the spring in Washington, D.C., so stay tuned for that.

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, where you can subscribe and never miss another episode. While you’re there, please consider leaving us a rating and a review, which will help us reach new listeners.


Download Episode 44

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Writers Ask: Justin St. Germain

We’ve got a special guest this week, author of the memoir Son of a Gun, which the New York Times called “spectacular.” He was nice enough to drop by the basement on a trip to Philadelphia, where he was reading at The Spiral Bookcase and hanging out with his cousins.

With Justin’s help we answer listener questions about college admission essays, and what we’ve learned from reading literary journal submissions. We also subject Justin to a special Book Fight lightning round. Talking points include: scorpions vs spiders, junior college vs the army, print journals vs online journals, and whipahol vs the rain.

Got a question for us? Just click on the Fight Back tab at the top of the page, or hit us up on Twitter, with the hashtag #WritersAsk.

You can learn more about Justin, and his book, at his website. You can learn more about the 1989 film How I Got Into College here (sadly, it’s not available on Netflix Streaming). If you’re in the Philadelphia area, we’d love to see you at our annual Conversations and Connections writing conference, this Saturday (Sept. 28) at University of the Arts in Center City. A full day of craft sessions and panels, a keynote from J. Robert Lennon, feedback from editors, and a free boxed-wine happy hour. For more details, including a complete schedule, check out the website, where you can also pre-register.

Finally, if you enjoy the show, help spread the word by telling your book-loving friends. You can also help us out by supporting our sponsor, Powell’s Books. If you use any of the links on our page to get to their online store, they’ll give us a little bit on the back end. Win-win!

Stream the episode:

Download Writers Ask: Justin St. Germain