The Growler

Interview with Novelist Alena Graedon

In this podcast:

•  Personal experiences that impacted her writing
•  Where the idea for the Word Exchange came from
•  Consulting with scientists when she wrote the novel
•  She didn’t have a TV in her house growing up
•  Writers who influenced her
•  What she’s working on now
•  Her reasons for using footnotes and alphabet chapters
•  Typing while standing on the subway

Brooklyn-based novelist Alena Graedon will read from her new book, The Word Exchange (Doubleday), a literary sci-fi novel in which sudden mutations in language and thinking disrupt life as we know it. The New York Times called it “a nervy, nerdy dystopic thriller set in New York City in the very near future.”

Alena was born in Durham, N.C., and is a graduate of Carolina Friends School, Brown University, and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She has worked at Columbia, Knopf, and the PEN American Center. The Word Exchange, her first novel, has been translated into eight languages and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and a Kirkus Best Fiction Book of 2014. Her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times Book Review, The Believer magazine, and elsewhere.