Tag Archives: Writers on writing

Art & Autobiography

All Letters Are Queer: Jonathan Kemp on “Twentysix” by


One of the central ideas at the core of Keep The Lights On is that we must be committed to talking about the secret behaviors which we’ve learned to keep hidden from the world. UK-based author Jonathan Kemp’s new book Twentysix is one of the most dynamic illustrations of this idea I’ve read in some time. The book is a slim yet dense collection of 26 gay sexual encounters told in unsparing detail alongside philosophical observations that try to get to the core of the narrator’s pursuit of pleasure. Like Georges Bataille and Jean Genet before him, Kemp’s prose is titillating, dark, and honest to its core. I spoke with Kemp this past weekend about his influences and how he created such an involving and unusual piece of writing. More…

Art & Autobiography

There’s Never a “Me” Character by

Annie Baker

In our previous installments of Art and Autobiography, we’ve focused on people who have used the raw material of their lives in an unobscured fashion, whether through diaries or performance. In this installment, we meet an author whose approach is quite different. While Annie Baker’s award-winning plays (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens) often seem so real an audience may assume they are based on her life, Baker says she cares more about emotional truth than “how-things-really-happened truth.” We conducted an email interview over the past month to explore these layers and how they appear in her work. 

Adam Baran: How is your summer going and what are you doing?
Annie Baker: My summer has been pretty okay. A lot of traveling outside of NYC. I was in Florida, then Boston, then New Hampshire, then the Berkshires, then Maine, then the White Mountains, then the Berkshires again. I spent all of July and most of June away from the city.

How is your broken foot?
Oh, man, it still kind of sucks. The broken bone is healed, but the tendon is still really inflamed and I’m still not allowed to run or jump on my foot. Or dance. That’s the hardest part. No dancing.

I know that was a pretty traumatic experience for you. But did it give you any ideas for any of your upcoming writing?
Zero ideas. More…