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Mark AthitakisMark Athitakis<div class="ExternalClassE2B8966AA43C4937A541B20975129FD8"><h2><em><a href="https://phoenix.overdrive.com/phoenix-phoenixpl/content/media/6274240" target="_blank">​The New Midwest: A Guide to Contemporary Fiction of Great Lakes, Great Plains, and Rust Belt</a></em> by Mark Athitakis</h2><p><br>Mark Athitakis is a writer and critic whose work has appeared in the <em>Washington Post</em>, <em>Los Angeles Times</em>, <em>New York Times</em>, <em>Humanities</em> magazine, and many other publications. He has served as a judge for numerous literary honors, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, and Southwest Books of the Year. He is the author of <em>The New Midwest</em>, recipient of the Books by the Banks Author Award for best nonfiction title. He lives in Chandler, Arizona.​<br></p><p><br></p><h3>Q + A</h3><br><h4><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">What inspired you to write this book?</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></h4><div><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">I've been working as a book critic for many years, and my excitement for books originates in the Midwest, where I grew up: Nelson Algren, Stuart Dybek, Willa Cather, and Toni Morrison were the first fiction writers I felt passionate about. I'd been writing a column called "Reading the Midwest" for a little while and wanted an opportunity to talk about some of the trends and themes I was seeing in Midwestern fiction at the current moment, not just the Midwest people associate with Ernest Hemingway or Sinclair Lewis.</span></div><div><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US"></span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559685":720,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></div><h4><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">What attracted you to this genre: romance, mystery, non-fiction, etc.?</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></h4><div><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">I love reading fiction first, but I'm also a fan of longform literary journalism in <em>The</em> <em>New Yorker</em>, <em>The</em> <em>Atlantic</em>, and similar publications. As an alt-weekly newspaper staffer, I enjoyed writing and editing those kinds of pieces. Ultimately, I'm a much better nonfiction writer than a novelist; it's what I'll always be most drawn to. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559685":720,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></div><div><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559685":720,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"><br></span></div><div><h4><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">What book are you currently reading?</span>  </h4></div><div><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">Just one? I usually have a bunch in rotation. At the moment I've been reading Library of America's collection of John Updike's early short stories; Andrew Holleran's new novel, <em>The Kingdom of Sand</em>, and Hernan Diaz's <em>Trust</em>.  </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559685":720,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></div><div><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559685":720,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"><br></span></div><h4><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">Are you writing anything now? If so, when will it come out?</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></h4><div><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">I'm always reviewing. I'm also researching a book-length project about a certain famous architect who had a substantial footprint in the Phoenix area. Not sure yet if it's a book. Fingers crossed...</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559685":720,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></div><div><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559685":720,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"><br></span></div><h4><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">If you weren't a writer, what would you do?</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></h4><div><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">Teaching or, if I'd kept up my math skills, working for an MLB team as a sabermetrician.  </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559685":720,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></div><div><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559685":720,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"><br></span></div><h4><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">Do you use your local library?  If so, which library is it and what do you do there?</span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></h4><div><span data-contrast="auto" lang="EN-US">Of course! I'm a regular patron of the Chandler Public Library, particularly the Sunset Branch. Sometimes I'm browsing---I always check the new-release shelves for titles I may have missed. I'm a regular patron of CPL's book sales. And I make regular use of its online offerings, particularly Kanopy and its research databases. </span><span data-ccp-props="{"201341983":0,"335559685":720,"335559739":160,"335559740":259}"> </span></div><p><br></p></div>

 

 

 

 

​The New Midwest: A Guide to Contemporary Fiction of Great Lakes, Great Plains, and Rust Belt by Mark Athitakis​The New Midwest: A Guide to Contemporary Fiction of Great Lakes, Great Plains, and Rust Belt by Mark Athitakishttps://www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org/images/Local Authors/JRLAC-Athitakis_web.jpg448

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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