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02Jul

‘My “sad girl” fans concern me’: Ottessa Moshfegh in conversation with Carmen Maria Machado

The author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation talks to fellow US writer about memoir v fiction, depicting tyrants and the power of fairytales

At 41, Ottessa Moshfegh has appeared on the Booker prize shortlist, for her debut novel Eileen, and the bestseller lists, with My Year of Rest and Relaxation, for which she is currently collaborating on a film adaptation. Her new novel, Lapvona, is set in the middle ages, and features a small community ruled over by a cruel feudal lord, Villiam. Carmen Maria Machado, 35, is the author of celebrated short story collection Her Body & Other Parties, which won the Shirley Jackson prize. Her memoir, In the Dream House, which described the abuse she suffered within a lesbian relationship, won the 2021 Rathbones Folio prize. This encounter was the first time the two US authors had met.

Carmen Maria Machado: I really love your work. When I was reading Lapvona, I was thinking there’s something so exciting to me about authors who are constantly shifting their mode. You never know what their next book is. I find that very exciting as a reader.

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