Emily St. John Mandel

St. John's my middle name. The books go under M.

Sep 23
Last night in Milwaukee: a collaborative reading/performance at Boswell Books. Shakespearean actors performed the scene from Lear that opens the book; I picked up at the line where the actor dies and read for a while, they dramatized the book’s interview sections—the shock and joy of hearing your text brought to life—we closed with a chapter where I read and they said lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve never done a more thrilling event. These weeks of strange new things.

"What does it feel like?" the sales rep asked when he picked me up at the Milwaukee airport the other day, asking about the National Book Award longlist. I don’t know. It’s wonderful. It doesn’t always seem quite real. It makes me very happy and also I’m aware at all times they could just as easily have picked an entirely different set of ten books for the fiction long list. This stuff’s crazily subjective.

Above: the art museum, not far from my hotel. I walked there yesterday with a few hours to kill between a radio interview and the Boswell event. It was closed when I visited, but beautiful to look through it at the lake on the other side.

Last night in Milwaukee: a collaborative reading/performance at Boswell Books. Shakespearean actors performed the scene from Lear that opens the book; I picked up at the line where the actor dies and read for a while, they dramatized the book’s interview sections—the shock and joy of hearing your text brought to life—we closed with a chapter where I read and they said lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ve never done a more thrilling event. These weeks of strange new things.

"What does it feel like?" the sales rep asked when he picked me up at the Milwaukee airport the other day, asking about the National Book Award longlist. I don’t know. It’s wonderful. It doesn’t always seem quite real. It makes me very happy and also I’m aware at all times they could just as easily have picked an entirely different set of ten books for the fiction long list. This stuff’s crazily subjective.

Above: the art museum, not far from my hotel. I walked there yesterday with a few hours to kill between a radio interview and the Boswell event. It was closed when I visited, but beautiful to look through it at the lake on the other side.


Sep 21
“Publishers are like, ‘We don’t know who your market is, we don’t know who we’d sell your book to,’ and I’m like, ‘What do you mean? Like… People with reading skills?’” Roxane Gay, talking about writers of color at the “This Woman’s Work” panel at the 2014 Brooklyn Book Festival (via yeahwriters)

(via roxanegay)


Sep 19
The baggage claim at Pellston Airport is really quite serious. The stuffed elk are over by the waiting area.

The baggage claim at Pellston Airport is really quite serious. The stuffed elk are over by the waiting area.


Hood ornaments in Traverse City, September 17 2014. It was a perfect fall day, a few hours before I found out about the National Book Award nomination, and the utterly lovely proprietors of Brilliant Books took me sightseeing. There were beautiful old cars all over town.


Sep 17

Window at McLean & Eakin, Petoskey. They built a tent! Just like the tents in the airport in the book!


Sep 16

The incredible front window of Brilliant Books in Traverse City.


DTW. I’ll be there soon, Traverse City.

DTW. I’ll be there soon, Traverse City.


Airport train, MSP. I saw a wild rabbit on the way to the airport. Leaving Minneapolis in the usual fashion—slipping out of my friend’s house under cover of darkness to catch an early flight to the next city, alone on pre-dawn streets, brisk walk to the light rail train—and as I was crossing a parking lot the rabbit sprang out of the underbrush alongside, probably startled by the sound of suitcase wheels, a small grey thing that dashed away with improbable grace. 

Wonderful event at Magers & Quinn last night. A question from the audience: did I think my book was hopeful, or not so much? He and his friend had had a disagreement on this front. “It seemed hopeful to me,” I said, “but your mileage may vary.” I didn’t specifically set out to write a hopeful book. It’s more that I think the mayhem and chaos that I assume would follow a societal collapse would probably not last forever everywhere on earth. 

Tonight: Traverse City!

Airport train, MSP. I saw a wild rabbit on the way to the airport. Leaving Minneapolis in the usual fashion—slipping out of my friend’s house under cover of darkness to catch an early flight to the next city, alone on pre-dawn streets, brisk walk to the light rail train—and as I was crossing a parking lot the rabbit sprang out of the underbrush alongside, probably startled by the sound of suitcase wheels, a small grey thing that dashed away with improbable grace.

Wonderful event at Magers & Quinn last night. A question from the audience: did I think my book was hopeful, or not so much? He and his friend had had a disagreement on this front. “It seemed hopeful to me,” I said, “but your mileage may vary.” I didn’t specifically set out to write a hopeful book. It’s more that I think the mayhem and chaos that I assume would follow a societal collapse would probably not last forever everywhere on earth.

Tonight: Traverse City!


Sep 13

Sep 8

The most beautiful thing I saw today. Central Park, September 8th 2014, a guy making enormous bubbles with a rope contraption and a bucket of water and soap.


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