Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


AWP 2014: Reports From the Writer-Industrial Complex

While Mike skipped out on this year’s AWP conference, Tom has made the voyage to Seattle, and will be filing periodic updates from inside the belly of the beast. He’ll have recaps of the day’s best and worst events, plus brief interviews with writers and editors. As new episodes drop we’ll update this post. Or you can make it easy on yourself and subscribe to the podcast feed–in iTunes, on Stitcher, or through Instacast or whatever other podcast app you prefer. Then you’ll get each new episode as soon as it’s available.

Special Report #1: Joe Killiany

Tom talks to Barrelhouse editor Joe Killiany about what’s to love and what’s to hate about AWP, writers (and ex-presidents) Joe wants to fight, and beard maintenance.


Download AWP Special Report #1 (right-click, save-as)

Special Report #2: Tom Williams

Tom (McAllister) talks to another Tom (Williams) about his novel, Don’t Start Me Talkin’, what he looks forward to each year about AWP, and conference-goers’ book-buying habits. Barrelhouse editor Dave Housley also jumps onto the mic to ask Tom about slam poetry, and his arm-wrestling prowess.


Download Special Report #2 (right-click, save-as)

Special Report #3: Aaron Burch

Tom talks with Hobart editor Aaron Burch, for some reason.


Download Special Report #3 (right-click, save-as)

Special Report #4: Erin Fitzgerald

Tom sits down with writer and friend-of-Barrelhouse Erin Fitzgerald to talk flash fiction, unlikeable characters, and the complicated worlds of fan fiction.


Download Special Report #4 (right-click, save-as)

Non-AWP Special Report #1: Lee Klein

Mike updates from Philadelphia on what it’s like to NOT be at AWP. Also, he’s joined by Lee Klein, author of Thanks and Sorry and Good Luck, to talk Austrian novelists and The Silver Linings Playbook.


Download Non-AWP Special Report #1

AWP Special Report #5: Katherine Hill

Tom talks with fan favorite Katherine Hill (author of The Violet Hour) about getting old, AWP parties, creepy dudes, dogs, kissing, and confrontational panels.


Download AWP Special Report #5

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Episode 45: Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

This week we welcome back our friend Katherine Hill–author of The Violet Hour, and apparently our designated lady correspondent–who forced us to read Doris Lessing’s seminal 1962 novel (seminal means super-long, right?). It’s possible Katherine is trying to punish us for not properly appreciating Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? back in episode 15.


At least one of us actually finished this week’s novel (the other of us feels that he got the gist). We talk about communism, novels of ideas, Joan Didion, cancer awareness, and Wawa milkshakes.

As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file and do with it what you will. Or! Check us out in the iTunes store, where you can subscribe (for free!) and never miss another episode. While you’re there, please consider writing us a quick review and giving us a rating. That’ll help us reach more listeners. And tell all your book-lovin’ friends about the show!

Please do check out Katherine’s book–we’re including a link at the bottom of this post so you can buy it at Powell’s. We give her a hard time, but she’s a really phenomenal writer, and worthy of your reading time. And if you buy her book through Powell’s, a little money will come back to us, to help support the show you (presumably) love.

Thanks for listening!


Download Episode 45

The Violet Hour
by Katherine Hill

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Book Friends

Checking in with a rare non-Monday post here to ask you all to check out THE VIOLET HOUR, a new novel by our friend and two-time guest (episodes 4 and 15) Katherine Hill.

Look, we know that if you follow a lot of lit people on Twitter and Facebook and etc, then  you’re being told to buy a dozen books a day, and you’re overwhelmed and probably annoyed. BUT, if you’ve listened to the show, you know she’s really smart and funny and has insightful things to say about literature, and anyway, look at this review in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Or any of these reviews anywhere.  Or read an excerpt.

And then go buy it (if you happen to buy it by first clicking the Powell’s link on this page, that would be okay with us). Buy three copies– one for the office, one for the car in case of traffic jams, one for home. We at Barrelhouse have known for a while now that Katherine is on the verge of becoming a Big Deal and we’re really excited for her and hope you’ll love her book.

Also: stay tuned for her world record-breaking third Book Fight appearance, which will probably post in early October and will be about Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, because Katherine I guess really thought it would be fun to make us read a 600 page book?