First Times: Ben Lerner on Writing and Publishing His First Book

As part of The Paris Review‘s ongoing series of first-time videos — interviews with authors about their first published works — Ben Lerner shares the experience of writing and publishing his first book, which happened to be a volume of poetry. Lerner writes both poems and fiction, and much of what he says here about knowing work is complete, the release of publication, and the ways in which having a finished book help make you part of a community can be applied to writing in any genre. Enjoy!

How Writers Get Their Start: Katori Hall

It’s a short week here in the U.S., as Thursday is Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d share another of The Paris Review blog‘s wonderful series of videos where writers share their “first time” getting into print/publishing. So often writers are told to write the thing they want to read. In the case of Katori Hall, she saw a definite absence of a certain type of play when she went to prepare a scene for an acting class — something that featured two young black women in conversation — and so she decided it was up to her to fill that gap.

How Writers Get Their Start: Donald Antrim

The Paris Review blog features a series on writers’ first times, short videos in which they talk about how they started out and what project allowed them to break through into publication. Each story is unique and, I think, encouraging in some way, particularly because they illustrate so clearly that the one thing these writers all have in common is persistence.

Today’s author is Donald Antrim, author of Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World.