Cunningham: Do you feel that writers have a moral responsibility, a political responsibility, and if so how does it manifest itself in our work?
Ulitskaya: I have had quite a long journey, and from carefree and joyful writing I gradually began to notice that my words matter and that this moral responsibility does exist. With years it becomes an even heavier load for me but it has to be said that I have accepted it. I have accepted this challenge. It is very hard.
Cunningham: Yes. Could you talk about how your sense of moral responsibility is in your mind, as you and I know, it is mostly just the days and the days and the days. How does your sense of moral responsibility live with your need to write a sentence and another sentence, and another sentence?
Ulitskaya: You know, during the last ten years, I have had to constantly step out of my writing to do journalism. To have a conversation with the public, to have a conversation with my contemporaries and I cannot say that I consider this my purpose, and I do not even think that I do it well.
Nevertheless, circumstances force me to make statements that are far removed from my own literature about the moral, social, and political matters. This does not give me joy.
Cunningham: Yeah. I understand. If this is not too personal, could you talk a little bit about what you find most difficult to write about? If it is too personal, just slap me and I go away.
Ulitskaya: You know, no, no. This is a very good question. And I, of course, think about it constantly. The thing is that each of us, not just the people who write, but every person, has a limit where they stop. Stop in their thoughts, stop in conversations. And for me it is very important to constantly think about it, and strive towards it, broaden those limits, and to walk at the edge of what is possible, possible for me.
Cunningham: Yeah. Yeah. I understand that.
Ulitskaya: And for me this is always difficult, and pretty torturous, and I think that I constantly am expanding those limits.
The Strand hosted the Writers Studio in their celebration of the Kenyon Review. As part of the celebration, renowned authors and poets gathered in the Rare Book Room to read from their works.
Lily Tuck is the author of nine novels: “The Double Life of Liliane”, "I Married You For Happiness", "Interviewing Matisse or the Woman Who Died Standing Up", "The Woman Who Walked on Water", "Siam, or the Woman Who Shot a Man", and "The News from Paraguay". She has also authored two short story collections, "Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived" and "The House at Belle Fontaine", as well as a biography, "Woman of Rome: The Life of Elsa Morante".
Tuck joined the Writers Studio in celebrating the Kenyon Review by reading from "The Double Life of Liliane".
Lindy West talks with Hari Kondabolu about her new book Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman.
Lindy West’s writing at GQ, the Guardian, the New York Times and elsewhere has garnered her an audience eager to hear her thoughts on feminism, culture, and body image. Her outspoken commitment to social justice issues as the founder of the destigmatization campaign #ShoutYourAbortion have placed her at the forefront of conversations over sexuality and reproductive rights. Her fanbase extends to Lena Dunham, who called her “an essential voice for women,” and Caitlin Moran, who called her debut memoir, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman “a thrilling, kick-ass, joyous ROAR of a book.” She’ll be at Strand to discuss Shrill and everything else—don’t miss this chance to hear from a hilarious and heartfelt breakout voice.
Lindy is joined in conversation by friend and stand-up comic, Hari Kondabolu.
Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Edgar Ramirez, Lisa Kudrow and Laura Prepon star in DreamWorks Pictures’ The Girl on the Train, from director Tate Taylor (The Help, Get on Up) and producer Marc Platt (Bridge of Spies, Into the Woods).
In the thriller, Rachel (Blunt), who is devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds.
Based on Paula Hawkins’ bestselling novel, The Girl on the Train is adapted for the screen by Erin Cressida Wilson and Taylor. The film’s executive producers are Jared LeBoff and Celia Costas, and it will be released by Universal Pictures.