Literary Hub

Meet National Book Award Finalist Brandon Hobson

The 2018 National Book Awards will be held on Wednesday, November 14 at the 69th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. In preparation for the ceremony, and to celebrate all of the wonderful books and authors nominated for the awards this year, Literary Hub will be sharing short interviews with each of the finalists in all five categories: Young People’s Literature, Translated Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction.

Brandon Hobson’s Where the Dead Sit Talking, which Publisher’s Weekly called “a smart, dark novel of adolescence, death, and rural secrets set in late-1980s Oklahoma,” is a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in Fiction. Literary Hub asked Hobson a few questions about his book and his writing life.


Who do you most wish would read this book?

Tossup between Yoko Ono and N. Scott Momaday.

What time of day do you write (and why)?

I teach a lot and also have a family, so I write any time of day or night I can.

How do you tackle writer’s block?

I usually pick up a book I love and reread it, or at least parts of it.

Which book(s) do you return to again and again?

Winter in the Blood by James Welch; The Naked Eye by Yoko Tawada; Carrying the Body by Dawn Raffel; Romancer Erector by Diane Williams; The Encyclopedia of the Dead by Danilo Kiš; The Energy of Prayer by Thich Nhat Hanh; Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

From Stewart O’Nan: “Keep hittin’ it.”

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