essays

[repost] “why does it matter if the best books have white protagonists?”

NB: This essay is reposted from my old blog. The original post was written when Una was almost 1. Now she’s 5, and I have another baby daughter. My opinions have not budged; and the American left’s internal crisis over “identity politics” would appear to lent them fresh relevance. # “When A Popular List Of 100 […]

back cover copy

In case the featured image isn’t readable, here’s the text: In the domed city of Anvard, society is defined by an intricate network of clans: the stolid Medawar, the flamboyant Llaverac, and dozens more. Clan membership means status and security; the options for outcasts without the protection of a clan are few and grim. Rachel […]

A nobody’s primer on publishing

A friend just finished a draft of a novel (STAR WARS fanfic, for context) (EDITED: Actually original fiction; reading comprehension error) and wanted advice on publishing. I spammed the relevant Facebook thread with this beast, then realized that I might have some followers who might enjoy a highly condensed, ultra-basic take on publishing from someone […]

The plan

On December 31, 2014, I’m quitting my job as a research professor in the psychiatry department at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. From a writer, one typically expects such a sentence to end with a coda like “to focus on my writing, damn the torpedoes and dental insurance.” But I’m not there yet. […]

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