SpeakEasy Blog

Seriously Questioning…Trish Hall

Caption: Trish Hall, New York City, August 16, 2018.
Credit: Jeffrey Henson Scales/HSP Archive

Trish Hall is a writer and journalist who worked for the New York Times for more than two decades. She initially joined the paper as a food reporter and eventually oversaw all the feature sections as a member of the masthead. For almost five years, she served as the Op Ed editor. She expanded the reach and the nature of digital offerings, winning an Emmy for an Op Doc produced by her team. She also created the Sunday Review, which since its inception has been one of the most popular sections at the Times. Her book for Norton, Writing to Persuade, was published in June. She lives in New York City.

On June 18, she will be speaking at House of SpeakEasy’s Seriously Entertaining showThe Song Sings Itself, alongside Michael Bronski, John Burnham Schwartz, and Darcey Steinke.  We spoke to Trish ahead of the show.

What is your earliest memory involving reading or writing?

I asked for a diary every year for Christmas, and every year my mother complied. I think I started my first one when I was seven. I wrote entries every day for a few weeks and then stopped. They were earth-shattering entries like, “Got up. Washed my hair.” Sometimes I berated myself for not writing. But I would often say, “I will be back tomorrow, I promise.”

What is your favorite line from your current work?

You mean from my own book? What kind of a miserable self-hating writer would I be if I liked my own writing so much that I had a favorite line?

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Everyone says it, but really it’s true. Write, write, write, in every form possible. Eventually something will seem just right for you.

What writer past or present do you wish you could eat dinner with?

Elena Ferrante

What writer do you wish you could share with the world?

I don’t dig out old books lost to history in second-hand stores and discover someone we should all know…. I’m allergic to dust, which I use to defend my bourgeouis desire for new clothes, new books, new shoes. I recently read Lena Andersson’s Acts of Infidelity. Andersson is a Swedish journalist and novelist, I think her writing is extraordinary and while she is hardly unknown, I hadn’t heard of her until I saw her most recent book in paperback at Three Lives, the bookstore near me in Greenwich Village where I pick up nearly everything I read.

What are you reading right now?

Lightning Field by Dana Spiotta.





Seriously Questioning…John Burnham Schwartz

John Burnham Schwartz is the author of five acclaimed novels, including The Commoner, Claire Marvel, Bicycle Days, Reservation Road, which was made into a motion picture based on his screenplay, and his new novel, The Red Daughter. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning…Darcey Steinke

Darcey Steinke is the author of the New York Times Notable memoir Easter Everywhere, as well as five novels. In 2017 Maggie Nelson wrote a foreword for a new edition of Suicide Blonde. With Rick Moody, she edited Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited. Her books have been translated into ten languages, and her nonfiction… Continue Reading

Poetry to the People: Darrell Bourque

Darrell Bourque is the former poet laureate of Louisiana and professor emeritus of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he held positions as the Director of Creative Writing, Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Humanities program, and Head of the English Department. Darrell has served as the Friends of the Humanities Board of Regents… Continue Reading

Poetry to the People: Eloisa Amezcua

Eloisa Amezcua earned a BA in English from the University of San Diego, where she was the recipient of the Lindsey J. Cropper Award for Creative Writing in Poetry selected by Ilya Kaminsky. In 2014, she completed the MFA program at Emerson College in Boston, MA. She’s received fellowships & scholarships from the MacDowell Colony,… Continue Reading

Poetry to the People: Raquel Salas Rivera

Raquel Salas Rivera is the 2018-19 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. They are the inaugural recipient of the Ambroggio Prize, for their book x/ex/exis, and the Laureate Fellowship, both from the Academy of American Poets. From 2016-2018, they edited The Wanderer and Puerto Rico en mi corazón, a collection of bilingual broadsides of contemporary Puerto Rican poets. They are also the… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning…Michael Bronski

Michael Bronski is an independent scholar, journalist, and writer who has been involved in social justice movements since the 1960s. He has been active in gay liberation as a political organizer, writer, editor, publisher and theorist since 1969. He is the author of numerous books including the recently published A Queer History of the United… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning…Boris Fishman

Boris Fishman was born in Minsk, Belarus. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Travel + Leisure, the London Review of Books, New York magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian, among other publications. He is the author of the novels A… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning…Damian Barr

Damian Barr is the author of Maggie & Me, which the Sunday Times named Memoir of the Year. He is Literary Ambassador for the Savoy in London where he hosts his Literary Salon, which has been going for ten years with hundreds of prominent guests including Bret Easton Ellis, John Waters, Colm Tóibín, Jojo Moyes, David Mitchell,… Continue Reading

Seriously Questioning…Andri Snær Magnason

Seriously Questioning…Andri Snær Magnason

Andri Snær Magnason is an Icelandic writer of novels, poetry, plays, short stories, essays and films. His novel LoveStar got a Philip K. Dick Special Citation, the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire in France, and “Novel of the year” in Iceland. The Story of the Blue Planet was the first children’s book to receive the Icelandic… Continue Reading

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