Kate Tuttle

Writer & Critic

Kate Tuttle

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


Songs and Stories to Keep the Ghosts at Bay

The child psychologist Selma Fraiburg wrote about a phenomenon she called ghosts in the nursery: the unexamined, maybe even unremembered, feelings from our earliest days that haunt us when we become parents. We all have them, those unmet needs or wishes from our own childhood, the painful bits that creep in and affect how we parent. I’m sure I’m haunted by more than one, but the one I know best is the bedtime ghost of fear and loneliness.
Catapult Link to Story

Why Do Women Love True Crime?

The first murder I remember was a ghost story, told at my summer camp in Michigan. I was around 12, so this was in the time of disco. At night, in a dark cabin, a girl told the rest of us about her older sister’s friend. Or maybe her friend’s older cousin: one of those twice-removed protagonists of a supposedly true account.
The New York Times Link to Story

How the book industry is weathering the COVID-19 storm

Publishing in a pandemic has meant selling online, delivering curbside, touring virtually, being OK with delays, and ‘reinventing the wheel every day’. “In the best of all possible worlds, launching a book is chaos,” said local mystery writer Hank Phillippi Ryan, whose 12th book, “The First to Lie,” came out last month.
The Boston Globe Link to Story

Q&A: America is failing us, but we still can save the day

Author Jared Yates Sexton fears the worst about the nation’s political upheaval, yet he won’t give in to ‘dread and demoralization.’. Jared Yates Sexton is a professor of creative writing at Georgia Southern University who had three short story collections under his belt when he started writing seriously about politics — especially the Trump rallies he attended during the 2016 campaign.
The Boston Globe Link to Story

What Decades of Reading Scandinavian Crime Fiction Can Teach You

Obsessions are by nature individual, and difficult at times to communicate to others. Even popular manias can seem obscure to those not in their grip. So when Wendy Lesser dives deeply into a world of crime fiction in her new book, “Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery,” she acknowledges on the first page that its mission is “eccentric and personal.”.
The New York Times Link to Story

‘Sigh, Gone’ memoir blends books, punk, and a refugee’s fight to fit in

Phuc Tran normally teaches Latin and Greek to high school students, but in the era of COVID-19 he finds himself teaching kindergarten and 3rd grade to his own children. “I think the student evaluations are not going to be kind,” he said with a laugh. Tran, who lives in Portland, Maine, is also a tattoo artist.
The Boston Globe Link to Story

Schizophrenia devastated a family: Robert Kolker did their story justice

If this were a normal author profile written during an ordinary time, I’d probably lead with some details about how Robert Kolker looks, what he wore, whether he ordered avocado toast at the Brooklyn coffee shop where we’d arranged to meet. I’d have laid my phone on the table to tape our conversation, notebook at hand to jot down anything particularly personal, or funny, or revealing.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story

A curious case of mass hysteria

Clare Beams worked on her debut novel for seven years. It began with the image of a pastoral New England landscape, something like the bucolic beauty of Fruitlands, where Louisa May Alcott’s father built a failed utopian community in the 19th century. And then a flash of the unexpected: a startling red bird, “a little bit too brightly colored to be where it is,” Beams said. “I also knew that I wanted there to be a school.”
The Boston Globe Link to Story

Sarah DiGregorio’s history of premature birth shows promising developments

When Sarah DiGregorio gave birth to her daughter, Mira, at 28 weeks’ gestation, the baby weighed just one pound, thirteen ounces. She spent nearly two months in the NICU, but she survived — today, Mira’s a happy, healthy kindergartener, “funny and sharp and inquisitive,” DiGregorio said. It wasn’t until a year after her daughter’s birth that DiGregorio, a journalist whose previous work mostly revolved around food writing, sat down to write about it.
The Boston Globe Link to Story

Author Craig Fehrman stacks up books penned by presidents

Craig Fehrman’s “Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote” starts with the very beginning of the country. The result of a decade’s worth of digging in libraries and archives, the book surveys two centuries of presidential authorship. “What I immediately realized was that this story was so much older than you could have expected,” Fehrman said.
The Boston Globe Link to Story

In Meng Jin’s ‘Little Gods,’ the inescapable pull of a family history

Meng Jin’s debut novel begins with a scene inspired by her own life. “I was born in the spring of 1989 in China,” she said, “and my father told me when I was a child that if it weren’t for the fact that I had just been born, he would have been in Beijing protesting with the students.”. In the book, “Little Gods,” a baby is born the night of June 4, 1989, as the tanks roll in to Tiananmen Square and her father disappears.
The Boston Globe Link to Story

Peggy Orenstein on birds, bees, and boys

As soon as journalist Peggy Orenstein finished 2016’s “Girls and Sex,” friends suggested she write a follow-up volume about boys. She resisted. “I kept saying no, that’s really somebody else’s job. I don’t want to do that,” Orenstein said. “And I think part of it was fear that they wouldn’t talk to me.”.
The Boston Globe Link to Story


Kate Tuttle

I'm on the executive board 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,, and elsewhere. Native Kansan, longtime Cantabrigian, lately of Georgia, now in New Jersey. Mother, wife, pal.

Feel free to email me at