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Dani Shapiro On Her Return to Fiction

How COVID prodded memorist Dani Shapiro to return to fiction and embrace the mess

By Bethanne Patrick

As my spouse navigates bumpy, rainy backroads in upstate New York and I try to keep my smartphone pointed in the direction of the greatest number of bars, writer Dani Shapiro appears on my tiny screen, composed and serene in the upstairs study of her Connecticut home, with its shelf of books, colorful chaise and artfully chaotic pinboard. “Hello, Bethanne’s husband!” she says. “We appreciate you, thanks for your patience.” Despite our communication glitches, the author is unfazed, ready to work with my messy schedule.

Shapiro has been making things look easy since her debut novel, “Playing With Fire,” was published in 1990. Weaving deftly between novels and memoirs, publishing essays on craft, teaching at home and abroad and even — why not? — running a podcast, the author seems to move with frictionless grace between worlds and mediums while the rest of us squint at our creative lives and wonder where we’re going. And yet, as she soon confesses, she had to ditch her writerly compass to break the longest dry spell of her career — at least in fiction. Read the full interview at the L.A. Times.

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