SpeakEasy Blog

Seriously Questioning…Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now, 3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You and Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her family.

On September 26th, she will be speaking at House of SpeakEasy’s Seriously Entertaining show, One for the Road alongside Loudon Wainwright III, Adam Begley, and Erica Wagner (tickets). We spoke to Ann ahead of the show…


Name: Ann Brashares

What is your earliest memory involving reading or writing? The first book I read on my own steam and at my own pace was a tiny paperback called Dreams of Victory about a girl 

(named Victory) so flummoxed by ordinary life, she takes refuge in the stories she tells herself. In the end, it turns out she’s well-suited to fiction writing. It struck an early chord.

What is your favorite first line of a novel? One of my favorites is from L.P Hartley’s The Go-Between“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

What writer, past or present, do you wish you could eat dinner with? I’ve been reading a lot of Philip Roth the past few months. It’s annoying for readers of fiction (me, in this case) to occupy themselves with the identity of the writer in the work all the time, but with Roth it’s hard not to. I think he has a place up near us up in North West Connecticut. I am madly tempted to go knock on his door. I won’t actually do that.

What writer do you wish you could share with the world? I love the historical novels of the Scottish writer Dorothy Dunnet, particularly the Lymond Chronicles.

What are you reading right now? I just started Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. My dad has always loved Stegner, and I’ve not read him before this. One of the many gaps in my education.  





Seriously Questioning…Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright III is a singer-songwriter and actor. In 1968,  he began to write songs, and in 1969 recorded his first album. Wainwright has recorded twenty-seven albums, including his 2010 Grammy Award–winning High, Wide, & Handsome. His songs have been covered by Johnny Cash, Mose Allison, Rufus Wainwright, Bonnie Raitt, and Earl Scruggs, among others. As an… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning…Erica Wagner

  Erica Wagner was the literary editor of The London Times for seventeen years and is now a contributing writer for The New Statesman, and consulting literary editor for Harper’s Bazaar. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Economist, The Financial Times, and The New York Times, among others. She is the author of Ariel’s… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning…Adam Begley

Adam Begley is the author of Updike and, most recently, The Great Nadar: The Man Behind the Camera. He was the books editor of The New York Observer for twelve years. A Guggenheim fellow and a fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times, the London Review of… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning…Ada Calhoun

Ada Calhoun is the author of two nonfiction books recently published by W.W. Norton & Co.: St. Marks Is Dead was named a New York Times Editors’ Pick, Amazon Book of the Month, and one of the best books of the year by Kirkus, The Boston Globe, Orlando Weekly, and The Village Voice, which called… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning… Glenn Frankel

  Glenn Frankel is an author and journalist, based in Arlington, Virginia. Most recently, he served as the director of the School of Journalism and G.B. Dealey Regents Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He has also spent time as a visiting journalism professor at Stanford University and an Alicia Patterson Fellow. Notably, he… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning… Tony Tulathimutte

Last year Tony Tulathimutte published his first novel, Private Citizens (William Morrow, 2016), to admiring notices from New York Magazine, which called it “a Great American Novel“, and Jonathan Franzen, who labeled Tulathimutte “a big talent“. Last week he won the Whiting Award for Fiction. Next week he will join our Seriously Entertaining line-up at Joe’s… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning… Brenda Shaughnessy

Brenda Shaughnessy’s witty, moving, fiery new collection, So Much Synth (Copper Canyon Press, 2016), takes us into the past. In its longest poem, “Is There Something I Should Know?”, Shaughnessy remembers a world of Simple Minds and Duran Duran songs, where she finds a young woman haunted by the changes in her body, caught in “pubescence’s acrid synthesis”,… Continue Reading

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