Rumaan Alam

in conversation with Edan Lepucki

Recorded Saturday, October 10th, 2020

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Rumaan Alam in conversation with Edan Lepucki

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Rumaan Alam’s latest release, the National Book Award-nominated Leave the World Behind, is a magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong.

Rumaan is the author of the novels Rich and Pretty, That Kind of Mother, and Leave the World Behind. His writing has appeared in The New York TimesNew York MagazineThe New YorkerThe New York Review of Books, Bookforum, and the New Republic, where he is a contributing editor. He studied writing at Oberlin College and lives in New York with his family.

Edan Lepucki is the bestselling author of the novels California and Woman No. 17, and editor of Mothers Before: Stories and Portraits of Our Mothers as We Never Saw Them.

“History is a story like any other, but black history is a story so devoid of logic that it frustrates the young reader. The young readers in my house, told of slavery and segregation, asked in disbelief, ‘What? Why?’ We – the parents of black children, the parents of all children – still need to tell that story”

– Rumaan Alam

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  • 2

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    Where do you find inspiration to create a new novel? Does it hit you out of the blue or is it more subtle?

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    What inspired “Leave the World Behind”?

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    You are so good with dialogue and use a lot of it in your books! What is the best advice you can give to a writer struggling with creating effortless dialogue?

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    Who are some of your favorite authors, whether fiction or non-fiction, and have they influenced your writing?

  • 1

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    I loved your Vulture profile, and was curious when you described this book as “your last chance,” that you hadn’t “hit a home run yet.” Now that you’ve hit a double (or whatever the most major home run is), maybe you can elaborate on how that feeling informed the work, or how it will going forward!

  • 1

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    When did you know you were a writer?

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    What is your process like for doing research for a novel? Interested in the nitty gritty.

  • 1

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    Do your books always hold a political lens with which they should be read?

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    You wrote a novel from the POV of two women. What response did you expect from the readers? What was the response?

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    What inspires the titles of your books?

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    How has life been for you in this pandemic?

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    What is the last thing that you read or saw that moved you?

  • 0

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    Can you talk about the editing process please.