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Kate Tuttle

Writer & Critic

Kate Tuttle

Writing on books and authors, race and politics, family and childhood.

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Writing stories that move like poems

Maryse Meijer’s debut was a short story collection. For her second book, the Chicago author experimented with new forms. “I really was tired of struggling with the connective tissue that you always have to pay attention to when you’re writing fiction,” Meijer said. “I was reading a lot of poetry, and I just admired how easily they could just cut to the idea or image or feeling that was the most potent.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Talking with Rebecca Traister about Angry Women

As a journalist, Rebecca Traister is always hoping her books are timely. Her first, “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” came out in 2010, soon after the bruising 2008 Democratic primary season she chronicled in its pages. Her second, “All the Single Ladies,” arrived in 2016, a celebration of women’s power at a time the country seemed poised to elect its first female president.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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Why a certain slur hasn’t gone away

The journalist Allison Yarrow remembers seeing an online quiz that surprised her. It invited users to learn “Which ’90s Bitch Are You?”. At the time, she was surprised — “I hadn’t really thought of the ’90s as returning for reassessment or nostalgic treatment” — but it sparked the idea for her new book.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Nigerian couple wrestles with infertility, political upheaval

Ayòbámi Adébáyò started working on “Stay With Me” in 2011. “I began with initially what I felt was a short story,” she said, of a married couple having their last fight before finally separating. “I felt that story was done, but I just felt there was something just beneath the surface that I was not able to access yet.” It took five years, and “at least seven” rewrites before the Nigerian author was ready to release her first novel.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Nancy Balbirer Finds Wisdom in Having a “Terrible Time”

In her first memoir,Take Your Shirt Off and Cry: A Memoir of Near-Fame Experiences, Nancy Balbirer shared some of the more extraordinary tales of her life as an actor, writer, and downtown New York fixture. Just a year after the book was published in 2009, Balbirer began a year of worry, change, and wrenching pain as she was losing her marriage and her beloved beagle, Ira, who was dying.
DAME Magazine Link to Story
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The Things Meg Wolitzer Knew Before We Did

The Female Persuasion is Meg Wolitzer’s tenth novel, and by any measure it’s big (more than 450 pages) and immersive, spanning decades in the lives of its characters, pondering everything from love and sex to work, politics, and professional disillusionment. At its center is a pair of women and the relationships they have with each other, their families, friends, and lovers.
DAME Magazine Link to Story
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A Sobering Meeting With ‘The Recovering’ Author Leslie Jamison

When Leslie Jamison’s book of essays, The Empathy Exams, came out in 2014, it established her as one of the stars of a new wave of women writing nonfiction that felt urgently relevant. The essays blended personal writing and journalism; Jamison’s point of view was powerful and flexible, encompassing both an expansive humanity and a jeweler’s eye for the strange and unsettling.
DAME Magazine Link to Story
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The women who wielded a pen like a weapon: Michelle Dean's 'Sharp'

In the 1987 movie "Broadcast News," a male colleague, angry at having to admit that Holly Hunter's character, a television producer, is right about something, shoots this line at her: "It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room." Hunter responds, huskily and urgently, a tear forming in her eye, "No, it's awful."
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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Is the Solidarity of Sisterhood a Myth?

Today’s cultural conversation around gender and power, turbocharged ever since allegations of sexual assault and harassment took down Harvey Weinstein, has been a long time coming. The #MeToo movement, pioneered by Tarana Burke, grew into a juggernaut on social media, a communal reckoning that both demanded men be held accountable for their actions, and invited women to share their stories of being sexually harassed and assaulted.
DAME Magazine Link to Story
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Tracing the roots of misogyny to ancient Greece and Rome with Mary Beard

The classicist Mary Beard opens her book “Women & Power” with a scene out of the Odyssey. Penelope leaves her room to approach the assorted suitors who more or less occupy her mansion, waiting for her to give up on long-lost Odysseus and marry one of them. When she requests they stop singing such songs, she is met with resistance from the youngest male there: Her adolescent son, Telemachus, chastises her. Return to your room, he tells her; public speaking is for men.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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Jaclyn Friedman Wants to 'Unscrew' Systemic Sexism

She’s spoken on college campuses, television and radio shows, and her own podcast, Unscrewed, about issues of sexual liberation. In her new book Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power, and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All, Friedman tackles all of it—the whole tangled web of entrenched, systemic sexism and all its modern iterations.
DAME Magazine Link to Story
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Girls, Don’t Become Boy Scouts

The news arrived on Oct. 11, a day — as Facebook reminded us — designated as the International Day of the Girl. On the surface, it even seemed like it might be a progressive change: The Boy Scouts of America announced that it would allow girls to participate in Cub Scouts and to eventually earn Eagle Scout rank.
The New York Times Link to Story

About

Kate Tuttle

I'm currently serving as President of the National Book Critics Circle. My reviews and articles about books have appeared in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Salon, Atlantic.com, and elsewhere. Native Kansan, longtime Cantabrigian, lately of Georgia, now in New Jersey. Mother, wife, pal.

Feel free to email me at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.