Five Best boarding school novels
In the Wall Street Journal's "Five Best" column, I present my picks for the five most scandalous boarding school novels:
- Stalky & Co., by Rudyard Kipling
- The Loom of Youth, by Alec Waugh
- Miss Pym Disposes, by Josephine Tey
- The Fourth of June, by David Benedictus
- Cracks, by Sheila Kohler
Read the column.
Photo Essay on inspirations for Grievous
My publisher, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, let me take over their Twitter thread one day to talk about some of the inspirations for characters and places in Grievous. You don't need to be on twitter to view this -- and there are photos, most taken by yours truly back in the day.
L. A. Review of Books: In the Footsteps of the Inklings
In the Footsteps of the Inklings: A Conversation with H. S. Cross and Carol and Philip Zaleski
We discuss J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and the role of faith in literature today. Read the interview.
Strong Language: history of the word
The blog Strong Language gave me a chance to discuss the word fag in its non-sweary usages, and also to explore the origins of its "strong language" use.
Read the essay
Grammar Girl: Em-Dash Dialogue
Over on Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips blog, I write about using em-dashes to set off dialogue, the history, the how, the why.
19 FGS Writers on Women Who Inspire Them
My last year of college, I got to take a playwriting seminar with Adrienne Kennedy. A petite, soft-spoken woman, she made it clear without quite saying so that our work together was of sovereign importance, so crucial that she could waste zero minutes on niceties, bureaucracy, or our anxious Harvard strivings for success.
Read more (and scroll to bottom of linked page for this piece)
Writers Read: H. S. Cross
Marshal Zeringue's site, Writers Read, asks what I have been reading lately. I wrote an entry in April 2019.
The Millions: The Mind Behind the Page
On writing what I don't know:
Novels should not be read as memoir. Still, whether the novelist writes what she knows or what she imagines, her words can conjure a realer reality, one more potent and less illusory than our present distraction. What mind does the page reveal? A 21st-century American widow up to her neck in building renovations, or a band of Englishmen up to their necks in cricket and Latin…and other matters not suited to coffee hour or a family newspaper?
Read the essay