The Write Up with Owen Egerton

The Write Up: The Story Behind the Storytellers

What does it mean to be a writer? What is the creative process? How do you publish your work? What inspires you to write? When did you become a writer?

Each month screenwriter, novelist and performer Owen Egerton sits down with all sorts of writers—from playwrights to poets—to talk about their lives and careers.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” — Ernest Hemingway

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” — Gustave Flaubert

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”― Jack Kerouac

Zan Keith

Sarah Hepola’s new memoir, Blackout: Remembering Things I Drank to Forget, chronicles her addiction to alcohol with brutal honesty and brilliant humor.  The book is gaining critical acclaim from reviewers in The New York Times, The Washington Post, LA Times, and Kirkus Reviews. Entertainment Weekly observed, “It’s hard to think of another memoir that burrows inside an addict’s brain like this one does.”

Blackout was named one of’s Best Books of June 2015, People Magazine’s Best Books of the Summer, and won a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Hepola recently joined us on The Write Up to discuss the memoir. We also chat about her work as an editor at Salon and as a freelance writer, and the complicated ways alcohol affected her writing and life.

Kari Anne Roy

It’s a true pleasure to get to sit down with Holt on The Write Up and discuss her craft and career and how she balances daily life, deadlines and being a mother of three. Join us as we chat about the attraction of writing for a younger audience, her love for underdogs and preteen ne’er-do-wells, and the allure of poetry.

Her novel Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel won praise from readers all over the nation. Her poetry shines in her collection Haiku Mama: Because 17 Syllables is All You Have Time to Read, written under the name Kari Anne Roy, is a collection of haikus hilariously bemoaning the struggles and joys of parenting.

Questions that lead to no answers. Wounds that never quite heal. The unhinged time of tragedy and grief. The soft, relentless whispering of the abused, the murdered, the lost. This is the world of Scott Blackwood.

Scott Blackwood is one of the most lyrical of modern American writers. His prose rings with poetry. His work explores community, grief, and the secrets that run through our lives.

In this edition of The Write Up, Blackwood talks about his new novel See How Small and explains why he is drawn to this story and the harrowing task of researching it. With a careful balance of compassion and curiosity, Blackwood reached out to many of the people connected to the actual murders including family members and first responders. Blackwood’s goal in this novel, and in all his work, is to recover lost voices.

Amanda Eyre Ward is not afraid.

In researching her first novel Sleep Toward Heaven, Amanda sat down with convicted murderers waiting on death row to explore their regrets and hopes. While writing her novel Forgive Me, Amanda traveled to South Africa to experience the ethnic tensions of Johannesburg first-hand

In this episode of The Write Up, we discuss her latest novel The Same Sky her penchant for telling stories of the voiceless and powerless, the importance of looking past political divides to tell the stories of real people and how exploring the lives of others has impacted her own own.

Photo courtesy of Doug Dorst

Doug Dorst is a wonder at words and worlds. He’s a master of bringing the known and unknown, the mundane and the strange, into immediate proximity to one another is such a way that the line begins to fade.

Whether it’s insecure police officers encountering restless ghosts romping through northern California in his debut novel Alive in Necropolis, or the dark inner lives of surf gurus and cake sculptors in his short story collection The Surf Guru, or the wild labyrinth voices, artifacts, and nightmarish locales of S.

On this edition of The Write Up, we speak with Dorst about his craft, his former life as a lawyer, his three victories on the game show Jeopardy and working with J.J. Abrams.

Matt Valentine

Talking with Carrie Fountain is like grabbing a coffee with a dear friend you who leaves you feeling thrilled and more awake to the world around you.

The conversation with the award-winning poet in this episode of The Write Up spins to wonderfully surprising places, exploring parenting, mysticism, craft and her extraordinary new poetry collection Instant Winner.

But, whether it’s writing her next poem or facing a new parenting challenge, Fountain says she consistently strives to “always remain a beginner.”

Louisa Hall

This month’s guest on "The Write Up" is novelist and poet Louisa Hall.

Louisa Hall’s life reads like a novel all its own – after graduating Harvard, she became a professional squash player, ranked second overall in the US. But near the height of her career, Hall abandoned the sport and headed to Texas to study literature at the University of Texas, write poetry, and begin working on her first novel.

Manuel's Dad

Manuel Gonzales loves zombies. Especially self-loathing zombies with unrequited office crushes and enough makeup to hide their undead identity.

His story collection, The Miniature Wife and Other Stories (Riverhead), is populated with zombies, werewolves, unicorns and other monsters and misfits. But Gonzales re-imagines these familiar figures in hilarious and heartbreaking ways. With deft humor and compassion, Gonzales makes what could be over-tread ground fresh and newly strange.

As funny as the stories often are, they also bubble with moments of dread and outright terror. But the terror comes from unexpected sources. Gonzales’ werewolf in the story Wolf” is not nearly as horrifying as the relative trying to kill it. The mad scientist in the title story isn’t as haunting as the murderous wife he “unintentionally" shrunk to the height of a coffee cup, and the unicorn in  “One-Horned & Wild-Eyed” is more eerie than beautiful and dangerously seductive.

Gonzales carries his playfulness into form, as well. Obituaries, pseudo-journalism, and voice-driven monologues fill the pages. The book is a weird, glorious ride that never leaves you less than surprised.

In this edition of "The Write Up," host Owen Egerton talks with the creator, writer and director of The Intergalactic Nemesis, Jason Neulander. Plus, Dr. Brett Sherman reviews The Foundations of Arithmetic by Gottlob Frege.

Jason Neulander moved to Austin in the early 1990s with nothing but a dream and motorbike. He founded The Salvage Vanguard Theater upon his arrival and went on to create theatrical experiences, not only on the stage but throughout the city.