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The Creative Nonfiction Podcast with Brendan O'Meara
Conversations with the world's best artists about creating works of nonfiction.
Category: Literature
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by Brendan O'M...
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July 13, 2018 09:42 AM PDT

“Working outside of journalism before working in journalism can be a useful thing in terms of seeing how the world works,” says Katie Baker.

Hey there, CNFers, it’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories, whether that’s narrative journalists, documentary filmmakers, essay and memoir writers and radio producers, I try unpack their lives and their work so you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work.

I’ve been a fan of today’s guest for quite some time. Today for Ep. 108 I welcome Katie Baker to the show. She’s a staff writer for The Ringer. Prior to that she worked for Grantland, so there’s a Bill Simmons continuity thing going on there.

Her work often focuses on a singular subject and she’s one of those writers that when you see her byline you know you’re in for some fun. Naturally I’ve linked to some of her work in the show notes.

She’s @katiebakes on Twitter.

Hey, if you enjoyed the show, let me know. I’m @BrendanOMeara and @CNFPod on Twitter. You can also email me.

I’d ask that if you like this episode and others that you kindly subscribe to the podcast and share it across your social platforms. Also, please consider leaving an honest rating or review on Apple Podcasts.

Head over to brendanomeara.com for show notes and to subscribe to my monthly reading list newsletter. Once a month. No Spam. Can’t beat it.

July 03, 2018 03:58 PM PDT

“The work that you put in is what comes out,” says freelance Seattle-based sports writer Matt Pentz.

Well, well, well, what’s going on CNFers, my CNF Buddies, it’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast whereby I interview purveyors of the almighty true story.

Today is no different as I welcome Matt Pentz, @mattpentz on Twitter, for Episode 107 of the podcast. Matt is a freelance sports writer based out of Seattle.

In this episode we dig into his co-written expose on the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team that he wrote with Andrew Helms for The Ringer. We get real granular on how he collaborated on that piece.

We also talk about how he handles his days as a freelancer and other influential writers.

Share the episode if you dig it and tag me on social @BrendanOMeara and @CNFPod on Twitter. You guys are the social network so when you share it, I know you’re digging it.

Thanks for listening everybody.

If you dig the show, consider leaving an honest review on Apple Podcasts and sharing with a friend.

Reach out on the socials if you have questions, concerns, or feedback.

Also, if you head over to brendanomeara.com, not only will you find show notes for every episode, but you can sign up for the ever-growing monthly reading list newsletter where I share my book recommendations for the month, as well as what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.

June 29, 2018 06:00 AM PDT

“I couldn’t, as an adult, get past the story of how her life ended. And I wanted to tell the story of she lived,” says Rebecca Fish Ewan.

And away we go, it’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories.

For Episode 106, I welcome Rebecca Fish Ewan, author of By the Forces of Gravity (Books by Hippocampus 2018), a love story between friends that ends in tragedy told through free-verse poetry and cartoons. It’s a great reading experience and a wonderfully told story of adolescence in the 1970s Berkley. You can buy the book by visiting books.hippocampusmagazine.com or via Amazon.

In this episode we dig into how Rebecca chose to write the story in the way she did
The power of community
Writing from the POV of her 12-year-old-self
And dealing with self doubt

Rebecca is @rfishewan on Instagram, her preferred social network and is @rfishewan on Facebook. Go check her out.

If you’re not subscribed, be sure to hit up Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, and Stitcher so you get a fresh delivery every Friday. Share this with people you think will dig it. Ad let me know what you think of it, what you got out of it. I’m @BrendanOMeara and @CNFPod on Twitter and @CNFPodcast on Facebook. Pick a network, any network and let’s connect.
If you dig the show and you have a minute, please leave a review over on Apple Podcasts. If you show me evidence of your review, I will edit a piece of your writing of up to 2,000 word.

Also, show notes and the like are at brendanomeara.com. While there you can sign up for my monthly reading list newsletter. Four books and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. You can’t beat that.

June 22, 2018 09:09 AM PDT

"It was always the story behind the headlines I found more intriguing," says Jonathan Green (@jonathanjagreen on Twitter).

This is the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories where we dig into origins, work habits and process so you can be a better a better storyteller.

For Episode 105 I welcome Jonathan Green, author of “Sex Money Murder: A Story of Crack, Blood, and Betrayal” to the show.

Jonathan’s story of how he became a journalist is inspiring in that he didn’t have the traditional route.

We talk about his origin
Using Tape Recorders
Making the extra call
Forming relationships among sources and much, much more.

If you’re not already subscribed to the show, please head over to Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, or Stitcher and subscribe so you can get this into your feed every Friday.

Thanks to you, thanks to Jonathan for his time.

Before you go on about your day, would you be so kind as to consider leaving a review of the podcast on Apple Podcasts? I’d love to see us get to 100 ratings or reviews and we’re almost halfway. It takes just a few moments, but those few moments help immeasurably.

Also, if you head over to brendanomeara.com, not only will you find show notes for the episodes, but you’ll also be able to sign up for my monthly reading list newsletter. In it I share my reading recommendations for the month and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @BrendanOMeara and followed the podcast @CNFPod on Twitter and @CNFPodcast on Facebook. You can also email me if you have any questions or concerns. If you’re struggling with your work, I’d love to help you out.

So, you know, it’s been a while since I tried to get my wife to subscribe to the podcast and you know what she said:

Okay, see you right here next Friday. Have a great CNFin’ week, friends.

Promotional support is provided by Hippocampus Magazine. Its 2018 Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction is open for submissions until July 15th! This annual contest has a grand prize of $1,000 and publication for all finalists. That’s awesome. Visit hippocampusmagazine.com for details. Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction.

June 15, 2018 07:54 AM PDT

Here we are again, welcome to The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories. I’m Brendan O’Meara.

I gotta say right up top that there’s been some serious issues with my hosting, Podomatic for those in the know, with the RSS Feeds. Shows are coming up unavailable in Apple Podcasts and it disappeared from Google Play and Stitcher. They say they’re on it, but it’s been three days with no improvement.

You can still stream the episodes from the embedded player on my website, brendanomeara.com, but in the meantime, downloading through the most popular and widely used platform—Apple Podcasts—is impossible until Podomatic gets it fixed. You might say I’ve been shopping around for other options.

Episode 104 brings back Elizabeth Rush to the podcast. Her new book Rising: Dispataches from the New American Shore (Milkweed Editions) is out. She could be coming to a city near you so check the show notes for the Rising Tour. I think that’s what Bruce Springsteen called his tour when his Rising came out. In this episode we talk about:

Rising sea levels
How to turn bleak material into something beautiful
How Elizabeth finds teaching energizing
And sexual harassment while doing fieldwork, something she’s never been asked about and was happy to get to talk about.

So that’s where we’re at. Please bear with me on the RSS nonsense. If you follow the social feeds, that links you up to my website so go find @CNFPod and @BrendanOMeara on Twitter and @CNFPodcast on Facebook. Follow Elizabeth @ElizabethaRush on Twitter for all things Rising.

If you made it this far I suspect you might like the show and want to help it out. Would you mind leaving an honest review on Apple Podcasts? That helps with validation and visibility. Let’s try and get to 100. We’re 57 ratings away at the moment. If a small fraction of you take out your phones, click on the star you deem appropriate, hit submit, that’s all you gotta do and you will have helped out the show in a major way. That takes like 10 seconds, if you want to leave a review, I will still edit a piece of writing up to 2,000 words for your kindness and time. Just send me a screenshot of the review with the date and we’ll get started.

I also have a great monthly reading list newsletter where I send out four book recommendations and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. I don’t get any kickbacks or anything, so it’s just things I dig and endorse for your pleasure. First of the month. No Spam. Can’t beat that.

June 08, 2018 08:30 AM PDT

“What interests me are questions that don’t have answers,” says Dennis Overbye.

Promotional support is provided by Hippocampus Magazine. Its 2018 Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction is open for submissions until July 15th! This annual contest has a grand prize of $1,000 and publication for all finalists. That’s awesome. Visit hippocampusmagazine.com for details. Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction.

So what is this show? It’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to artists about telling true stories. Today’s guest for episode 103 is Dennis Overbye, @overbye on Twitter, a science writer for the New York Times. He’s a Pulitzer Prize-finalist and author of two books: Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos: The Story of the Scientific Quest for the Secret of the Universe and Einstein in Love: A Scientific Romance.

I’d love it you subscribed to the show wherever you get your podcasts and share episodes across your social streams with people you think might get some value from the interview. You are the social network.

May 25, 2018 08:04 AM PDT

"You have to decide how you want to live in this ecosystem that is morphing around you," says Jane Friedman

Hey, CNFers, guess what?

Promotional support is provided by Hippocampus Magazine. Its 2018 Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction is open for submissions until July 15th! This annual contest has a grand prize of $1,000 and publication for all finalists. That’s awesome. Visit hippocampusmagazine.com for details. Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction.

It’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories so you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work.

For Episode 102 of CNF Pod, I welcome Jane Friedman, the titan (though not like Thanos) of the publishing industry, whose book The Business of Being a Writer, published by the University of Chicago Press, is the best and most frank book on earning a living with words.

It debunks a lot of myths and, quite honestly, could save a bunch of people from getting into the biz on false delusions and might even save more people from pursuing an MFA, a degree, IMO, that leads to more debt than fulfillment, controversial as that may be. And I have one, earned on the false pretenses of career advancement, but that’s not why we’re here.

Jane talks about her upbringing in a small mid-western town, I wish it was Pawnee, but it wasn’t.

How a writing career is very much individualistic
Dealing with shame
Playing the long game
Embracing Change instead of fighting it
And getting beyond the idea that the book is the be all, end all

Jane can be found on Twitter @janefriedman and you can find me @BrendanOMeara on Twitter and Instagram. The Podcast is @CNFPod on Twitter and @CNFPodcast on Facebook.

If you have a minute or two, please consider leaving a review on iTunes/Apple Podcasts. That would mean the world to me and will help this podcast reach more people looking to tell their best true story.

Head over to brendanomeara.com for show notes and to subscribe to my monthly reading list newsletter. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.

May 18, 2018 08:10 AM PDT

"You can’t be passive and just sit back and wait for things to happen," says Andrew J. Chamberlain.

I’m Brendan O’Meara and this is the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories: leaders in narrative journalism, podcasting, radio, doc film, essay, and memoir and tease out origins, habits, routines, tactics, so you can improve your own work.

For Episode 101, I welcome fellow podcaster Andrew Chamberlain. He hosts The Creative Writers Toolbelt, a podcast that gets real granular on the writing process. He has a fiction slant, but his experience interviewing and with ghost writing opened the door for him to come on my show. As an FYI, I went on his show not too long ago, so you should go and check that out. I’ll include it in the show notes.

Andy breaks it down for you in this episode. Many of the tools apply to fiction, but if you’re anything like me, you want your nonfiction to read like fiction so I think you’ll get a lot of tasty nuggets from this one.

Hey, if you haven’t subscribed, go and do that on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music, and soon Spotify, still waiting for approval on Spotify, but it’s coming, I promise.

Today’s podcast is brought to you by the 2018 Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference. Now in its 6th year, the CNF Writers’ Conference is three days celebrating the art, craft, and business of writing true stories. May 24th through 26th in downtown Pittsburgh. Details at creative nonfiction.org/conference. Listeners of this podcast receive 20% off the registration price by entering coupon code CNFPODCAST during checkout.

Promotional support is provided by Hippocampus Magazine. Its 2018 Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction is open for submissions until July 15th! This annual contest has a grand prize of $1,000 and publication for all finalists. That’s awesome. Visit hippocampusmagazine.com for details. Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction.

Head over to brendanomeara.com for show notes for this and 100 other episodes. Follow me on Twitter @BrendanOMeara or @CNFPod. The podcast is on Facebook @CNFPodcast.

Sign up for my monthly reading list newsletter. It comes out on the first of the month and gives you a sampling of good books and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.

May 11, 2018 06:58 AM PDT

"If I can get through the horribleness of the first draft, I have a chance," says Mary Karr.

Today’s podcast is brought to you by the 2018 Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference. Now in its 6th year, the CNF Writers’ Conference is three days celebrating the art, craft, and business of writing true stories. May 24th through 26th in downtown Pittsburgh. Details at creative nonfiction.org/conference. Listeners of this podcast receive 20% off the registration price by entering coupon code CNFPODCAST during checkout

Promotional support is provided by Hippocampus Magazine. Its 2018 Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction is open for submissions until July 15th! This annual contest has a grand prize of $1,000 and publication for all finalists. That’s awesome. Visit hippocampusmag.com for details. Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction.

Whoa, boy, CNFers, it’s Episode 100 of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. 100? Here for the first time? This is my jam, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories: leaders in narrative journalism, memoir, doc film, radio, and personal essay to tease out tactics, habits, origins, and routines so you can improve your own work. I’m your host Brendan O’Meara. Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your pods and share with a fellow CNF Buddy.

Man…Are you serious? 100 episodes and for this special occasion we here at CNF Pod HQ bring you Mary Karr. I’m sure 99.9% of you know who she is, but if you don’t here’s the rundown:

She’s the best-selling author of The Liar’s Club, Cherry, Lit, The Art of Memoir, and five books of poetry, including her latest, Tropic of Squalor published by Harper.

Mary is a professor at Syracuse University and is best known and most responsible for the boom in memoir when The Liar’s Club kicked all our asses and showed us what a personal story could be.

We talked a lot about the importance of patience, working through dozens of drafts, the nature of talent, and cellos, yes, cellos.

She’s @marykarrlit on Twitter and Facebook and her website is marykarr.com. Be sure to stick through the end of the show where Mary reads two amazing poems from Tropic of Squalor. You don’t want to miss out on that tasty goodness.

If you head over to brendanomeara.com you’ll find show notes as well as a chance to subscribe to my monthly reading list newsletter. And, no, if you click through and buy books I don’t get any kickbacks so you can rest assured that I’m selecting books that I enjoyed and get no compensation for. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat that.

You can also support the podcast by leaving a review on iTunes as that helps our little corner of the internet get a little bit bigger. If you leave an honest review and send me a screenshot, I’ll coach up a piece of your work of up to 2,000 words. No diggity.

That’s gonna do it, CNFers. Here’s to the next 100 CNFin’ shows up in your ears.

May 04, 2018 06:00 AM PDT

"I'd rather find the story and excavate it than make it up," says bestselling author and New Yorker staff writer David Grann.

The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I talk to the best artists about telling true stories and tease out origins, tactics, and habits so you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work.

Welcome, CNFers, my CNFbuddies, oh, I’m feelin’ good today and boy do I have a treat for you. But first, if you don’t subscribe to the show, go and get it on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and soon Spotify and join our little tribe in this true story corner of the Internet.

For Episode 99 I welcome David Grann, a New Yorker staff writer and the best-selling author of The Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. This is the best book I’ve read all year and with good reason. We dig into his approach to writing this book as well as key literary influences and why he ultimately landed on telling true stories.

Killers of the Flower Moon, a National Book Award finalist, is now available in paperback.

You can find more about David at his website davidgrann.netlify.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidGrann.

Big thanks as always to you the listener and to David for taking the time.

Hey, wanna help the show? Share this episode with a friend and think about giving it a review on iTunes. If you leave an honest review, send me a screenshot of it and I’ll coach up a piece of your work of up to 2,000 words.

Head over to brendanomeara.com for show notes and to subscribe to my monthly reading list newsletter. I give out my reading recommendations and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.

Is that it? I think it is. Thanks for listening, CNFers. I’m out.

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